Keir Starmer twice declined to repeat his call for Boris Johnson to quit over Partygate in a BBC interview. But Labor insisted the party has not withdrawn the call, it’s just focusing on Ukraine for now
Labor today insisted it has not withdrawn its call for Boris Johnson to resign after Keir Starmer called for UK politicians to show “unity” over Ukraine.
Labor’s leader was grilled on whether he stood by his call for the PM to quit after his attendance at lockdown parties battered public trust in politics.
He twice did not explicitly say the Prime Minister should quit for now, telling the BBC “it’s very important we demonstrate that unity” against Putin’s invasion.
But a Labor spokesperson said after the interview: “Our position is unchanged, we haven’t withdrawn our call for Boris Johnson to resign.”
It’s understood if the Prime Minister is hit with a fine for breaching lockdown rules, the call will be repeated, but Labour’s focus is on Ukraine for now.
The Met Police have been investigating 12 lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, several of which were attended by Boris Johnson.
Keir Starmer has been calling since January for the Prime Minister to resign, saying he chipped away at trust in politics and misled Parliament.
Tory MPs had been putting in letters of no confidence in their leader.
But despite Scotland Yard still considering whether to fine the PM, talk of a leadership challenge has evaporated in Westminster in a show of unity against the tyrant Russian leader.
Labour’s leader was asked by the BBC’s Sunday Morning whether he now drew his call for the PM to quit.
He replied: “I do think there’s a basic question of trust and it does seem a long time ago now we were talking about all the allegations the Prime Minister faces. He of course is still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
“I do think there’s an issue of trust.”
But he added it was important “in the United Kingdom and in our politics that we show the world we are united.
“And therefore, whatever the challenges and frustrations and criticism I have of the Prime Minister and I’ve got many, on this issue there is unity.
“And it’s very important we demonstrate that unity.”
Asked to confirm he was withdrawing his call for the PM to resign, he replied: “Well, look, at the moment the Prime Minister is obviously concentrating on the job in hand. And we stand united as the UK on that issue.”
Shadow defense secretary John Healey said Keir Starmer had “set those to one side, quite rightly” due to the “very serious” conflict in Ukraine.
He told Times Radio: “Those hard underlying questions that ultimately Boris Johnson will have to answer about his lawbreaking… will come back.
“But for now we must stand with other European nations, and Labor gives its full backing to the extent that the government will stand by its support for the Ukrainians’ resistance… and the toughest possible sanctions.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.