Boris Johnson will not apologize for accusing Sir Keir Starmer of failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, No 10 has said.
The Labor leader was bundled into a police car for his own protection after an angry crowd of protesters shouted about him “protecting paedophiles” near to Parliament on Monday afternoon.
At least six Conservatives joined MPs from across the political spectrum in linking the harassment to the baseless claim made by Mr Johnson in the House of Commons last week.
Mr Johnson falsely claimed Sir Keir “used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” while Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
So far, the prime minister has refused to apologize for the jibe.
Today, his official spokesman told reporters that the PM was “making a political point.”
The spokesperson acknowledged that Mr Johnson’s original words were “capable of being misconstructed”, which was why he subsequently issued a “clarification”.
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“The Prime Minister clarified his remarks last week to make clear he was not suggesting Keir Starmer was individually responsible for the Savile decision,” the spokesman said.
He added: “I think the Prime Minister was making a political point about taking responsibility for organizations as a whole.”
Mr Johnson tweeted on Monday evening that the “behaviour directed” at the Labor leader was “absolutely disgraceful” but did not address the nature of the abuse.
It comes as House Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle warned MPs that their “words have consequences” and reiterated that it was “inappropriate” for Mr Johnson to have made the comment.
Making a statement to MPs, Sir Lindsay criticized the “disgraceful behaviour” directed at Sir Keir outside Parliament, and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy who was with him.
He said: “I deplore the fact that members of this House were subjected to intimidating and threatening behavior while simply doing their jobs.
“I know the whole House will join me in saying that we stand with our colleagues in condemning the behavior they and the police experienced.
“While I do not comment in detail on security matters on the floor of the chamber, steps must be in place to keep passholders secure as they enter and leave the parliamentary estate.”
He added: “I made it clear last week that while the Prime Minister’s words were not disorderly they were inappropriate.
“As I Said These sorts of comments Then only inflame opinions and generate disregard for the House and it is not acceptable.”
Earlier, technology minister Chris Philp said Mr Johnson could not be held responsible for the “unacceptable” actions of the demonstrators.
He said that some of those taking part had been involved in similar incidents targeting Communities Secretary Michael Gove and the BBC journalist Nick Watt.
“They did mention Jimmy Savile. They Also Mentioned Julian Assange Repeatedly, They Mentioned Covid, They Also Mentioned The Opposition More Generaly, “He Told Sky News.
“I don’t think you can point to what the Prime Minister said as the cause of that. You certainly can’t blame him for the fact that that mob were clearly behaving in a totally unacceptable way.”
On at least two videos posted to social media, a man and a woman were heard shouting about Savile to the Labor leader, as he walked with a shadow foreign secretary Mr Lammy.
The Met Police said two people were arrested on suspicion of assault after a traffic cone was thrown at a police officer during the unrest.
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