Calls for Boris Johnson to apologise after Sir Keir Starmer rescued from mob

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and police rescuing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after he was surrounded by a mob

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and police rescuing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after he was surrounded by a mob - Credit: PA/Conor Noon

Conservative and Labour MPs have called for Boris Johnson to apologise after Sir Keir Starmer was rescued from a mob, amid shouts accusing him of "protecting paedophiles".

The Labour leader and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy were bundled into a car and taken to safety by police after clashes erupted between police and protestors on Monday.

Members of the mob shouted "traitor" and referenced a baseless claim made by Mr Johnson while under pressure over the partygate scandal.

Mr Johnson had falsely claimed Sir Keir “used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” while director of public prosecutions. The prime minister later sought to clarify that he meant the failure was while Sir Keir was director of public prosecutions.

But there is no evidence Sir Keir had any personal role in the failure to prosecute the man who was one of Britain’s most egregious sex offenders before his death in 2011.

Coming under renewed criticism, Mr Johnson tweeted the “behaviour directed” at the Labour leader was “absolutely disgraceful” but did not address the nature of the abuse, and Downing Street has said there will be no apology.

Former Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith was one of a number of Tory MPs calling for Mr Johnson to withdrawn his allegations.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was reportedly escorted to safety by police outside parliament today (January 7) - Credit: PA

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Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq tweeted: "When you abuse the country’s highest office to stoke far right conspiracy theories, it has real world and dangerous consequences. The PM should be ashamed of himself."

Mr Lammy tweeted: "No surprise the conspiracy theorist thugs who harassed @Keir_Starmer & I repeated slurs we heard from @BorisJohnson
 last week at the despatch box.

"Intimidation, harassment and lies have no place in our democracy. And they won’t ever stop me doing my job."

Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who chairs the Commons committee on standards, said: “This is appalling. People were shouting all sorts at Keir, including ‘Jimmy Savile’.

“This is what happens when a prime minister descends into the gutter and recycles lies from hard-right conspiracy theorists. Political poison has an effect. Johnson has no moral compass.”

Labour’s Dame Angela Eagle tweeted: “Proud of yourself stoking up the worst internet conspiracy theories PM? Disgusting new low.”

Former minister Stephen Hammond, one of at least 15 Tory MPs to have called for Mr Johnson to resign over the partygate scandal, said he agreed with Mr Smith, as did Robert Largan and Aaron Bell, who were elected in 2019. Senior Tory Sir Roger Gale demanded that Mr Johnson makes a Commons apology on Tuesday over the abuse which he feared could be the result of Mr Johnson’s “deliberately careless” Savile allegation.

The angry clashes happened at shortly after 5pm on the Victoria Embankment, where people shouted anti-vax and anti-lockdown slogans.

Footage posted to social media showed Piers Corbyn, the Covid-19 conspiracy theorist brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, addressing the crowd before the incident and later leading chants of “resist, defy, do not comply”.

Video showed Sir Keir, surrounded by police, being followed down the street while being targeted with shouts of “why aren’t you opposing?” and “traitor”.

“Why did you go after Julian Assange, why did you go after journalists?” one man shouted.

It is understood Sir Keir was not harmed during the incident.

Video footage captured clashes between police and protesters as officers escorted Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer away

Video footage captured clashes between police and protesters in Westminster as officers escorted Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to safety - Credit: Conor Noon/PA

Protesters were seen displaying signs opposing mandatory vaccination and the use of restrictions to prevent Covid-19 deaths.

Scotland Yard said two arrests were made after there were clashes between police and protesters.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “Shortly after 5.10pm on Monday, February 7, a man who had been surrounded by a group of protesters near to New Scotland Yard, was taken away from the scene by a police car.

“A man and a woman were arrested at the scene for assault of an emergency worker after a traffic cone was thrown at a police officer.

“They have been taken into custody.”

Former cabinet minister Julian Smith said the Prime Minister must withdraw the Savile slur for the sake of Sir Keir’s security in the wake of the incident.