Stephen Crabb: PM’s comments ‘ill-judged and not befitting of a Prime Minister.’
PRESELI Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb says Boris Johnson must withdraw an attempted smear of Kier Starmer.
The PM made the slur in the debate on Sue Gray’s report into lockdown-busting parties hosted at Government offices and the PM’s 10 Downing Street residence.
Although constrained by the belated and ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation into the parties, Sue Gray provided severe criticism of the conduct of those who attended the parties.
Cornered and desperate to save his skin, Mr Johnson lashed out at Sir Kier over his period as Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr Johnson repeated a far-right social media lie, saying: “[He] spent most of his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile.”
The PM knew what he said was a lie and said it anyway.
Subsequent reports revealed he planned the smear, was warned against it and went ahead with it anyway.
Even when the lie is obvious and the liar’s motive clear, a liar cannot be called a liar in the House of Commons.
Boris Johnson lied.
Kier Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions when Surrey Police investigated allegations against Savile.
During that investigation, Savile was interviewed under caution by the police.
As the PM is aware, being interviewed under caution is not proof of guilt. If it were, he would already have resigned.
When Surrey Police sent their report for review, Kier Starmer did not oversee the case. Instead, a senior crown prosecution lawyer reviewed their evidence.
Police claimed victims were “unprepared to support any police action”, for example testifying in court.
However, after Savile’s death, Kier Starmer ordered an Independent Inquiry into the case’s handling.
Alison Levitt QC headed the investigation.
She reviewed the Surrey force’s investigation and the decision not to prosecute.
She said the police treated the victims and the accounts they gave “with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required”.
Three of the victims told her that if they had received more information from the police at the time of the investigation—and particularly if each had been told she was not the only woman who had complained—they would “probably have been prepared to give evidence.”
She criticised the reviewing lawyer for not pushing the police harder said she had “reservations” about the prosecutor’s decision not to press charges.
She said: “On the face of it, the allegations made were both serious and credible; the prosecutor should have recognised this and sought to “build” a prosecution.”
Lawyers who represented Savile’s victims condemned the PM’s comments as untrue.
Richard Scorer, head of abuse and public inquiries at law firm Slater and Gordon, said his clients were “appalled and disgusted” at the PM’s conduct in “weaponising their suffering for political gain.”
LOCAL MPs RESPOND
We asked three local MPs to comment on Sue Gray’s report and the PM’s lie about the opposition leader.
Stephen Crabb did not hang around with his answers to our questions.
Regarding the Sue Gray report, he said: “I am pleased that the Met Police are investigating. I await the outcome of their investigations. I called for this, hoping that we can somehow get to the bottom of this whole episode rather than just rely on allegations and media reports.
“As I have said before, these are very serious matters and an apology from the Prime Minister may not be a sufficient response once we get to the inquiries.”
On the Savile slur, Mr Crabb was to the point: “I thought the Jimmy Saville smear used by Boris Johnson towards Keir Starmer was ill-judged and not befitting of a Prime Minister. He should withdraw it.”
Jonathan Edwards MP said: “Politics is in a very dangerous place at the moment. I fear people’s trust in the democratic process is being quickly eroded.
“The Gray interim report clearly confirms either the Prime Minister didn’t understand his own policy or thought it didn’t apply to him. I think, however, the issue is far deeper in terms of detoxifying politics, and I can’t see how someone who excels at promoting culture war politics can possibly restore the values needed to sustain a healthy democracy.
“Much of the political strategies employed in Westminster surround misinformation, misrepresentation, and deliberate polarisation. Social media is the perfect conduit for such strategies, and they have proven to be extremely successful for Mr Johnson.
“I fear that unless there is a deliberate attempt across the political divide for a systemic change in our approach to politics, especially engagement on social media, darker forces could easily come to the ascendancy.”
We put the same issues to Simon Hart MP.
Mr Hart’s office told us he would make a statement on his Facebook page, Simon Hart MP, on Wednesday afternoon (February 2).
No comment has been made by Simon Hart at the time of the publication of this article on Thursday, February 3. Should Mr. Hart make a comment on the issues we raised with him, we will add them to this story.
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