Boris Johnson's Jimmy Savile slur against Keir Starmer shows the Prime Minister is becoming more like Donald Trump – Steve Cardownie

What did Boris Johnson actually say about Keir Starmer and Jimmy Savile in the House of Commons last week and what is he saying now?

Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 4:55 am
Donald Trump once said of Boris Johnson: 'They call him Britain Trump' (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/pool/Getty Images)
Donald Trump once said of Boris Johnson: 'They call him Britain Trump' (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/pool/Getty Images)

Despite all the attempts to “clarify” his statement, it is obvious that it was a pre-meditated slur on the leader of the Opposition at Westminster, designed to deflect attention from the ongoing Met Police investigation into alleged parties in Number 10 during lockdown.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on February 1, Johnson referred to an apology made by Sir Keir Starmer back in 2013 (when he was the director of public prosecutions) for the Crown Prosecution Service having failed to bring Savile to justice four years earlier.

He levelled the accusation that Sir Keir “used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile”.

In the face of an angry backlash, Johnson sought to “clarify” his remarks by going on television two days later to proclaim “a lot of people have got hot under the collar and I understand why. Let’s be absolutely clear, I’m talking not about the leader of the Opposition’s personal record when he was DPP and I totally understand that he had nothing to do personally with those decisions”.

“Used his time… failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” – no amount of spin or backtracking can extricate him from this particular hook.

Referring to the Conservative benches in the Commons, Sir Keir said: “They knew he was going so low with that slur, with that lie – he had been advised not to do it because it is obviously not true, but he does it because he doesn’t understand what honesty and integrity means.”

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Now we have the spectacle of Tory Cabinet ministers, some looking decidedly uncomfortable, as they take to the airways to trot out No 10’s ludicrous spin and it is as dishonest as it is entirely predictable.

A couple of columns ago, I wrote: “The fact that the majority of Conservative MPs are weighing up their own re-election prospects if Johnson leads their party into the next general election, rather than removing him now, adequately demonstrates that they are willing to sacrifice the principles of democracy on the altar of self-preservation.”

The harassment of Starmer by protesters on Monday, when Jimmy Savile’s name could clearly be heard being shouted at him, demonstrates that Johnson’s words have consequences.

Tory MPs may enter this incident in the debit column as they continue to weigh up whether Johnson will be an asset or a liability come the next general election – but they will still not act until their very own political future is clearly at risk.

Due to his actions and ill-considered statements, Boris Johnson has inevitably been likened to the former US President Donald Trump and it is a comparison that is well deserved.

Trump split his country and his party and Johnson could be following suit. If Conservative MPs fail to act now, they may well suffer the same fate as their Republican friends across the Pond – and they will only have themselves to blame!

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