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Boris Johnson is under pressure to withdraw his claim that Sir Keir Starmer was behind the failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile during the Labour leader’s time as Director of Public Prosecutions.
Julian Smith, a former Tory chief whip, has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Prime Minister’s jibe in the House of Commons following the publication of Sue Gray’s report into Partygate.
Smith is the third former chief whip after Andrew Mitchell and Mark Harper, to criticise the Prime Minister publicly.
The Labour leader was DPP of the Crown Prosecution Service when the decision was made not to prosecute Savile – a man who had sexually abused hundreds of vulnerable adolescents – but it is important to clarify that he was not the reviewing lawyer. In fact, an investigation later suggested that Starmer had no personal involvement in the decisions made.
Ministers, many of whom would have found the remark distasteful, were tasked with defending the PM on the airwaves this morning. On the Today Programme, Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, said it was just the “cut and thrust of politics”. He refused to repeat the claim. And Nadine Dorries struggled on Channel 4 News to justify the “fake news” and claimed “the prime minister tells the truth”.