| 10.4°C Belfast

Sturgeon: ‘Sickening’ abuse of Starmer lays bare ‘toxic cocktail’ of politics

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on the Prime Minister to withdraw his remarks about the Labour leader and apologise.

Close

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was accosted on Monday (Victoria Jones/PA)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was accosted on Monday (Victoria Jones/PA)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was accosted on Monday (Victoria Jones/PA)

The “sickening” abuse of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has shown the “toxic cocktail” that surrounds British politics, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Sir Keir, along with Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, was accosted on Monday night by demonstrators who hurled abuse – some of whom accused him of “protecting paedophiles” while others chanted about sex offender Jimmy Savile – before he was taken away in a police car.

The abuse came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in the House of Commons that the Labour leader failed to prosecute Savile while director of public prosecutions – an assertion proven to be untrue.

The Prime Minister has yet to withdraw or apologise for the remarks.

Close

The Labour leader had to be taken away in a police car (Conor Noon/PA)

The Labour leader had to be taken away in a police car (Conor Noon/PA)

PA

The Labour leader had to be taken away in a police car (Conor Noon/PA)

Speaking to Sky News, Nicola Sturgeon described the abuse as “sickening”, adding: “I don’t think any politician should have to put up with what Keir Starmer experienced last night.

“It is a reflection of the toxic cocktail of conspiracy theories, smears and lies that swirl around our politics now.”

Ms Sturgeon accused the Prime Minister of using conspiracy theories to attack political opponents and that he “knew what he was doing”, as she pushed for “responsible politicians” to unite.

She said: “I think the choice for all responsible politicians is, do we unite, whatever our other differences might be, to push all of that to the margins of our politics?

“Or do we do what Boris Johnson did? Which is almost weaponise that to make attacks on an opponent and to do that in the full knowledge that that can, and does, stir up the kind of hatred and abuse and harassment that Keir Starmer experienced yesterday.”

Close

Ms Sturgeon said ‘this is a moment to decide that this is not acceptable in our politics’ (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

Ms Sturgeon said ‘this is a moment to decide that this is not acceptable in our politics’ (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

PA

Ms Sturgeon said ‘this is a moment to decide that this is not acceptable in our politics’ (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

She added: “This is a moment to decide that this is not acceptable in our politics.

“Tough scrutiny of politicians is essential in our democracy but when that crosses the line and becomes the stirring up of hate and abuse, something has gone far wrong and that’s a moment to draw a line in the sand and say we cannot allow this to continue.”

The First Minister went on to call on the Prime Minister to withdraw the remarks and apologise.

She said: “If he has a shred of decency – and I appreciate that may be the flaw in the argument I’m about to make – if he has a single shred of decency, he will withdraw the comments that he made completely and he will fully, unreservedly, unequivocally apologise to Keir Starmer and he will join others in saying that we should hold each other to account.

“We should have robust debate in a democracy, but we should all draw the line at bringing the smear and the lies and the conspiracy theories of the far right and the other trolls that populate social media into the mainstream of our democracy.”

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required


Top Videos



Privacy