Boris Johnson condemned after mob surrounds Keir Starmer amid screams ‘traitor’ and ‘paedophile protector’

Watch: Keir Starmer bundled into a police car outside Parliament

Boris Johnson has been accused of inciting protesters after Sir Keir Starmer was bundled into a police car to escape a mob hurling abuse at him, including shouts of "paedophile protector" and "traitor".

Amid angry clashes at around 5pm on Monday, officers stepped in to protect the Opposition leader as the group followed him and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy from outside Scotland Yard.

Two arrests were made in connection with the incident after an emergency worker was hit with a traffic cone.

Former Cabinet minister Julian Smith was among several Conservative MPs to demand that the Prime Minister fully withdraws the Savile slur for the sake of Sir Keir’s security. Labour MPs also expressed outrage aimed at the PM.

Shouts of "Jimmy Savile", "paedophile protector", "traitor" and "disgrace" could be heard as Lammy, along with several Labour staffers, appeared to attempt to shield Starmer from the crowd.

It comes just days after Johnson falsely accused the Labour leader of failing to prosecute Savile when he was director of public prosecutions in comments that threaten to become increasingly toxic for the under-fire PM.

He has already been widely condemned over the baseless comments, for which he has yet to apologise for and which have been shared previously by far-right conspiracy theorists.

Starmer is accosted by protesters in central London
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was mobbed by protesters in Westminster on Monday.

"What happened to Keir Starmer tonight outside parliament is appalling," said Smith, the Tory MP for Skipton and Ripon and former Northern Ireland secretary. "It is really important for our democracy and for his security that the false Savile slurs made against him are withdrawn in full."

Robert Largan, Tory MP for High Peak, tweeted: "I agree with Julian. Words matter. What we say and how we say it echoes out far beyond Parliament. It can have serious real world consequences.

"Elected representatives have a responsibility to lower the temperature of debate, not add fuel to the fire."

Other Conservative MPs to demand the prime minister withdraw his comments include another former minister Stephen Hammond, Roger Gale and Aaron Bell, all of whom have publicly called on Johnson to resign in recent weeks.

Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, told the Prime Minister “apologise please”. “Let’s stop this drift towards a Trumpian style of politics from becoming the norm,” he added.

Labour MPs also hit out at Johnson following the incident. Lammy said it was “no surprise the conspiracy theorist thugs who harassed” Sir Keir and himself had “repeated” Johnson’s slurs.

"This is where the prime minister's lies have got us," said shadow environment minister Alex Sobel. "We can’t call out his lies in the Chamber and this is the result. He’s not fit for office."

keir starmer mobbed
The Metropolitan police have made two arrests in connection with the incident.

Labour MP Chris Bryant described the scenes as "appalling", adding: "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."

Jess Phillips, Labour MP and shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said she had "no doubt" Johnson's comments had caused the scenes.

"I'd say I have received death threats that quote Boris Johnson in the past so know how dangerous his words can be," she told Yahoo News UK. "I have no doubt that the lies Boris Johnson told have caused this, all while he has overseen an increase in child exploitation and a reduction in conviction of abusers since he has been prime minister."

keir starmer mobbed
Police bundled Starmer into a car and drove him away from the mob. (PA Images)

Sadiq Khan, London mayor, said: "This is what happens when fake news is amplified and given credibility by people who should know better."

Johnson himself criticised the protesters, tweeting: tweeted: “The behaviour directed at the Leader of the Opposition tonight is absolutely disgraceful. All forms of harassment of our elected representatives are completely unacceptable.”

Johnson first shared the falsehood linking Starmer to Savile in the Commons on January 31. Under vast pressure, he later clarified his remarks, insisting he had not been referring to Sir Keir’s “personal record”.

On Friday, Munira Mirza, Johnson’s head of policy and ally of 14 years, resigned following his controversial remarks.

"I believe it was wrong for you to imply this week that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for allowing Jimmy Savile to escape justice," Mirza wrote in a resignation letter.

She added: "This was not the normal cut-and-thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse."

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18:  Director of Policy for Arts, Culture and Creative Industries Munira Mirza and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson attend the
Munira Mirza, long-term friend and ally of Boris Johnson, resigned from her role as head of policy in Number 10 over Johnson's failure to withdraw his false claims about Starmer and Jimmy Savile. (Getty Images)

Last Thursday, Rishi Sunak told journalists, "being honest, I wouldn't have said it" when asked at a press conference about the remarks.

The Met Police said of Monday evening's incident: "Shortly after 1710hrs on Monday, 7 February, 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."

Footage posted of the incident on social media also showed Piers Corbyn, the COVID conspiracy theorist and brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, addressing the crowd before the incident - and later leading chants of "resist, defy, do not comply".

The mob also claimed Starmer was failing to stand up for "the working class man" and accused him of not "opposing" the government.