'Dragging everybody into the gutter': UK opposition chief lambasts PM Boris Johnson

WION Web Team
London, United KingdomUpdated: Feb 01, 2022, 07:55 PM IST
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In this file photo, Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer can be seen addressing the parliament Photograph:(AFP)

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He said the fact that 12 of the 16 parties, including one in Johnson's own flat, were subject to a police probe was 'a mark of shame'

Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of "dragging everybody into the gutter." 

Talking about the 'partygate' scandal, he said the fact that 12 of the 16 parties, including one in Johnson's own flat, were subject to a police probe was "a mark of shame".

Starmer also lambasted Johnson for repeating a false claim in parliament that he had failed to prosecute one of Britain's most notorious sex offenders.

"It is a ridiculous slur peddled by right-wing trolls," Starmer told Sky News, accusing Johnson of debasing his office.

It comes after Johnson said that Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile during his time as Director of Public Prosecutions, a role for which he later received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, "I think Keir Starmer should be subject to scrutiny across the board including the calls he's taken during this pandemic."

"He should be judged on the calls or frankly, his inability to make those judgement calls, in relation to his own behaviour."

Johnson's position has been hanging by a thread because of the steady drip of revelations since late last year, leading to an increasingly mutinous mood among his MPs.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray published her report into the claims on Monday, but only a watered-down version as she has passed on the most serious accusations to the police to investigate.

Despite being limited in what she could say, Gray still managed a stinging rebuke to the prime minister's authority, contrasting government officials' behaviour with the sacrifices made by the public during the pandemic.

"Too little thought" had been given about how appropriate boozy events were and would be seen as others stuck to the rules, unable to comfort sick and dying loved ones with Covid.

"Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did," she added.

Police are investigating a cocktail party in May 2020 in the Downing Street garden, as well as Christmas celebrations, and a drink-fuelled get-together the evening before Prince Philip's funeral.

(With inputs from agencies)