Starmer calls PM's Jimmy Saville accusation an 'untrue slur'
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Labour leader Keir Starmer said Prime Minister Boris Johnson had “debased himself” after falsely claiming he was behind the failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile whilst serving as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Mr Johnson made the allegation as the pair traded barbs in the aftermath of the publication of the long-awaited Sue Gray reports on partying at Number 10 claims. Discussing the exchange on Sky News. Sir Keir said: “It is a ridiculous slur peddled by right-wing trolls.
“And the disgust, and that’s where I saw the faces of the Conservative MPs, on their faces that their Prime Minister was debasing himself by sinking so low in the Chamber was clear.”
He continued: “They knew he was going so low with that slur, with that lie. He had been advised not to do it, because it’s obviously not true.
“But he does it because he doesn’t understand what honesty and integrity mean.
“When I was DPP, I was superintended by a Conservative Attorney General so it’s as ridiculous as it gets.
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“And I’m glad those Conservative MPs were disgusted and expressed it to me that their Prime Minister for debasing himself in the House of Commons instead of acting with contrition and integrity he should have shown.
“He did what he always does which is trying to drag everybody into the gutter with him.”
Several Tory MPs spoke out against the Prime Minister for his comments, with some branding them as “false and baseless.”
Former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith, now MP for Skipton and Ripon, said: “The smear made against Keir Starmer relating to Jimmy Saville yesterday is wrong and cannot be defended. It should be withdrawn.
Boris Johnson mentions Jimmy Savile in clash with Keir Starmer
“False and baseless personal slurs are dangerous, corrode trust, and can’t just be accepted as part of the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate.”
former chief Crown prosecutor for the North West Nazir Afzal hit back at Mr Johnson’s comments by saying that the reference made to Savile by Mr Johnson was “a disgrace to Parliament & office of Prime Minister”.
Mr Afzai wrote on Twitter: “It’s not true. I was there. Keir Starmer had nothing to do with the decisions taken. On the contrary, He supported me in bringing 100s of child sex abusers to justice.”
In 2020, fact-checking charity Full Fact looked into the claim that Sir Keir had stopped Savile being charged in 2009.
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The organization noted the Labour leader was head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when the decision not to prosecute Savile was made on the grounds of “insufficient evidence”, adding: “The allegations against Savile were dealt with by local police and a reviewing lawyer for the CPS.
“A later investigation criticised the actions of both the CPS and the police in their handling of the situation.
“It did not suggest that Mr Starmer was personally involved in the decisions made.”
Full Fact concluded: “Mr Starmer was head of the CPS when the decision was made not to prosecute Savile but he was not the reviewing lawyer for the case.
“An official investigation commissioned later by Starmer criticised both prosecutors and police for their handling of the allegations.”
Savile died in 2011 aged 84 having never been brought to justice for his crimes.
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