Lindsay Hoyle slams Boris Johnson's Jimmy Savile claim about Keir Starmer

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Max Parry

By Max Parry

Published: 01/02/2022

- 17:01

Sir Lindsay Hoyle attacked the PM over his accusation aimed at the Labour leader yesterday in Parliament

Sir Lindsay Hoyle has slammed the Prime Minister over his comment in the House of Commons that the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, failed to prosecute paedophile Jimmy Savile.

The Commons Speaker said he could not reprimand the Boris Johnson as it did not breach parliamentary rules.

However, he told MPs: "I am far from satisfied that the comments in question were appropriate on this occasion.

"I want to see more compassionate, reasonable politics in this House and that sort of comment can only inflame opinions and generate disregard for this House."

The PM, under pressure following the publication of the Sue Gray report into Downing Street parties, went on the offensive, taking aim at the leader of the opposition.

Mr Starmer was “a former director of public prosecutions – although he spent most of his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Savile, as far as I can make out”, Boris Johnson claimed.

The accusation is incorrect, as although Sir Keir was head of the CPS whilst Savile committed his offences, he wasn't the lawyer that reviewed the case.

The PM's spokesman would not utter the claim again, saying to do so would be a breach of “the principle of civil service impartiality”, however he insisted he “stands by” it.

Sir Lindsay told parliamentarians: “I want a nicer parliament. And the only way we can get a nicer parliament is by being more honourable in the debates that we have. Please, let us show each other respect as well as tolerance.”

“Unfortunately, the public out there think I’ve got this magic power,” the Speaker said, after a point of order was raised.

“You give me the power. If you’re not happy with the power I’ve got, it’s in your hands to change it,” Sir Lindsay said.

Although ministers who mislead the Commons are expected to correct the record, the Speaker has no power to compel them to do so – and Mr Johnson has refused to do in the past.

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