Politics

Keir Starmer admits ‘deliberate’ plot to oust Boris using ‘very careful’ PMQs attack

Keir Starmer discusses questions to Boris Johnson in PMQs

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Sir Keir Starmer appeared on ITV’s Peston and was interviewed about the Tory sleaze row which has engulfed Downing Street this week. When asked about his performance in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Sir Keir admitted he tried to set up Boris Johnson. During PMQs, Sir Keir repeatedly asked Mr Johnson if he made the “bodies piled high” comments as reported by the Daily Mail to which the Prime Minister denied, and is now on official record as saying so in the Commons. This could become a huge issue for Mr Johnson if he is later found to have made the remarks, as he would have misled Parliament, by denying making them. 

Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, the Labour leader discussed the issue of Downing Street refurbishment funding and remarks Mr Johnson allegedly made against a third lockdown. 

He told the show: “I was very careful in the questions I put to Boris Johnson today and deliberately so. 

“Because somebody here isn’t telling the truth, that’s obvious they can’t both be right.

“The prime minister can’t say he didn’t say it and then there are a number of sources who say that he did say it.”

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Mr Peston then asked whether Sir Keir believed if Mr Johnson should resign if he is found to have misled parliament. 

He replied: “That’s what the ministerial code says and that’s why I wanted him on the record in the House of Commons because if he’s misled the House of Commons then the ministerial code says he has to resign.”

It comes as the Electoral Commission announced it would be investigating the source of the Downing Street renovation funds as Mr Johnson and ministers insist it came from the PM’s own pocket. 

Labour has continually pushed for the Conservatives to come clean over the origins of the money and have called for more transparency regarding Tory donors. 

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Electoral rules state that any party donation that is more than £7,500 must be reported to the Electoral Commission who will then choose whether to investigate the donation for bribery or corruption. 

During PMQs, Sir Keir branded Mr Johnson as “Major Sleaze” in light of recent stories.

In response, the prime minister angrily attacked Labour for focusing on “wallpaper” rather than the big issues in the country. 

Political commentators remarked it was one of the few times they saw Mr Johnson genuinely angry after his outburst in the Commons. 

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was forced to intervene on several occasions as MPs could be heard heckling during the clash. 

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During a Downing Street public briefing, BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock if a minister who breaks codes or the law should resign. 

Ms Kunessberg was making a thinly-veiled point about Mr Johnson in the Commons. 

The minister criticised the journalist for bringing up unrelated issues to a Covid briefing and quickly moved on without answering her question. 

But viewers and fellow journalists were outraged when Mr Hancock chose to not answer the question and accused the Tory frontbencher of avoiding scrutiny. 

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