The Labour Party leader savaged Prime Minister Boris Johnson, demanding his resignation after he was fined for breaking national lockdown rules whe
The Labour Party leader savaged Prime Minister Boris Johnson, demanding his resignation after he was fined for breaking national lockdown rules when he was present at a Downing Street party on June 19, 2020. Sir Keir Starmer told MPs in the House of Commons that he had spoken to John Robinson, a constituent of Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, about how he and his family obeyed the rules and could not spend time with his wife before she died and had to limit numbers at the funeral.
He said: “Doesn’t the Prime Minister realise that John would have given the world to hold his dying wife’s hand even if it was just for nine minutes, but he didn’t because he followed the Prime Minister’s rules, rules we now know the Prime Minister blithely, repeatedly and deliberately ignored.
“After months of insulting excuses, today’s half-hearted apology will never be enough for John Robinson.
“If the Prime Minister had any respect for John and the millions like him who sacrificed everything to follow the rules, he’d resign, but he won’t because he doesn’t respect John, he doesn’t respect the sacrifice of the British public, he’s a man without shame.”
But the Labour leader’s attack on Mr Johnson has been picked apart by Brexiteer and trade unionist Paul Embery, who pointed out it was MPs as a whole who imposed the “wicked, inhuman restrictions in the first place”.
He wrote on Twitter: “Yes, John’s ordeal was heartrending.
“But those MPs who displayed such shock and horror upon hearing the tale might wish to reflect on the fact that it was they who imposed these wicked, inhuman restrictions in the first place.
“That’s the real story here.”
Sir Keir also came under fire from several other people replying to the tweet from Mr Embery.
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“Claire Dunnage” (@claire_dunnage) said: “The rules that prevented John from being with his dying wife were backed by you, Keir.”
Twitter user “Kay” (@youdonewhat) commented: “Yes, an MP made a good point that no matter what the PM did or didn’t do those restrictions were in place because all political parties voted for it.
“And I might add Mr Starmer always seemed to want the restrictions to be sooner, harder, longer.”
“Vera A” (@VeraAtkinsF) tweeted: “The Leader of the Opposition failed to do just that: instead of OPPOSING the nonsensical Covid measures, he wanted to toughen them up and extend them. He had no credibility to criticise anyone.”
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Twitter user “SG” (@SgSgallie) added: “Well said. They can all do as much cross party sanctimonious point scoring as they want, but at the end of the day, most of the rules made no sense at all and for millions of people, the cure was far worse than the disease.
“Not enough of them were prepared to challenge SAGE.”
Mr Johnson apologised 35 times in two hours during his first appearance in the House of Commons after being fined over a Downing Street party.
The Prime Minister apologised in his opening statement, and repeated the apology 33 times to MPs who questioned him about partygate.
He told MPs during his opening statement: “Let me begin in all humility by saying that on April 12 I received a fixed penalty notice relating to an event in Downing Street on the 19th of June, 2020.
“I paid the fine immediately, and I offered the British people a full apology.
“I take this opportunity on the first available sitting day to repeat my wholehearted apology to the House as soon as I received the notice, I acknowledge the hurt and the anger.”
He later said: “I repeat that was my mistake, and I apologise for it unreservedly.”