Death threats against Keir Starmer after Jimmy Savile slur probed by police

14 February 2022, 05:56 | Updated: 14 February 2022, 06:42

Online threats have been directed against Sir Keir Starmer after Boris Johnson's 'Savile slur'
Online threats have been directed against Sir Keir Starmer after Boris Johnson's 'Savile slur'. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Police have launched an investigation into online death threats against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's false claim that he failed to prosecute paedophile Jimmy Savile.

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Documents, including a batch of messages from users of the Telegram app who appear to be identifiable, were sent to Scotland Yard by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) on Friday.

They include calls for Sir Keir to be "executed", The Observer reports.

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A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "On Friday 11 February, police received a third party report relating to allegations of malicious communications made against a serving Member of Parliament.

"An investigation is ongoing."

No arrests have yet been made.

A Labour source said extremists did not like the Labour leader because he "spent years" helping to prosecute them.

"Of course extremists of all stripes don't like Keir," they said.

"He spent years helping to put them and their ilk in prison and keep Britain's streets safe from them."

It comes after Sir Keir, along with shadow foreign secretary and LBC presenter David Lammy, was confronted by a mob in Whitehall last week shouting "paedophile protector".

The pair had to be escorted away from demonstrators by police, after they were accosted leaving the Ministry of Defence following a briefing on the situation in Ukraine.

The material from the CCDH, shown to The Observer, includes responses to footage of last week's incident posted by English Defence League founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - better known under his pseudonym Tommy Robinson - and conspiracy theory group Resistance GB.

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The incident came after Mr Johnson accused his rival of failing to prosecute Savile while he was director of public prosecutions.

The slur has caused widespread criticism and calls for him to apologise.

Although Sir Keir was head of the Crown Prosecution Service in 2009 when a decision was taken not to prosecute Savile, he had no personal involvement in the deliberations.

In an interview with The Times this week, Sir Keir said he had never been called a "paedophile protector" before.

"If others want to argue that this is unconnected with precisely what the Prime Minister said one week before then let them make that case," he added.

"But they'll never persuade me that there is no link."

Mr Johnson tweeted on Monday evening that the "behaviour directed" at the Labour leader was "absolutely disgraceful".

Read more: Minister would not have made Savile slur but 'PM was right to examine Starmer's record'

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Critics have said the PM's jibe is completely unfounded and have blamed the remark for anti-Covid restriction demonstrators targeting Sir Keir outside Parliament.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, speaking on a visit to east London on Tuesday, said the images of the opposition leader being bundled into a police car to be escorted away from protesters were "completely disgraceful".

But the Cabinet minister, who has previously distanced himself from the PM's Savile comments, said "the people that are to blame are the protesters themselves" rather than Mr Johnson.