Johnson labels Starmer ‘pointless human bollard’ after plea for civility at PMQs

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle had urged MPs to focus on ‘issues and policies rather than personalities’.

20 July 2022

Boris Johnson branded Sir Keir Starmer a “great pointless human bollard” as he ignored pleas to keep things civil in his final Commons appearance.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle urged MPs to conduct Prime Minister’s Questions in a manner “focusing on issues and policies rather than personalities”.

After Labour leader Sir Keir highlighted criticisms of the Government by the Tory MPs hoping to succeed Mr Johnson, the Prime Minister told the Commons: “Every time something needs to be done, they try to oppose it, he’s a great pointless human bollard – that’s what he is.”

The remark prompted cheers and shouts of “more” from Conservative MPs, with the Prime Minister surrounded by loyalists on the seats near him.

Sir Keir later asked if Tory former minister Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) was right to say she had warned former chancellor Rishi Sunak that he was “handing taxpayers’ money directly to fraudsters in Covid loans”.

Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Tory leadership candidates offer no way out of the ‘mess’ the Government has created (House of Commons/PA)

He added: “She says he dismissed her worries and that as a result he cost taxpayers £17 billion. Does the Prime Minister think that she’s telling the truth?”

Mr Johnson replied: “This is one of the last blasts from Captain Hindsight, at least to me, because they were the party who were so desperate for us to be hiring their friends to get PPE, they wanted a football agent to supply PPE and a theatrical costumier to supply PPE, do you remember, Mr Speaker?

“We had to get that stuff at record speed, we produced £408 billion worth of support for families and businesses up and down the country, and the only reason we were able to do it at such speech was because we managed the economy in a sensible and moderate way.”

In his final question, Sir Keir said: “I think the message coming out of this leadership contest is pretty clear: they got us into this mess and have no idea how to get us out of it.

“The Foreign Secretary (Liz Truss) says ‘we can’t go on with our current economic policy’. The member for Portsmouth North (Penny Mordaunt) bemoaned the fact ‘what we’ve been doing has not been good enough’. And the member for Saffron Walden probably puts it best when she simply asked ‘why should the public trust us, we haven’t exactly covered ourselves in glory’.

“Their words, their future leaders’ words.”

Sir Keir said the Tories have “trashed every part of their record in Government”, adding: “What message does it send when the candidates to be prime minister can’t find a single decent thing to say about him, about each other or their record in Government?”

Labour MPs waved goodbye at Mr Johnson as he delivered his reply, with one shouting: “Nurse, it’s time to go.”

Mr Johnson told Sir Keir: “What does it say about him that no-one can name a single policy after three years of the Labour opposition apart from putting up taxes?

“He’s one of those pointless plastic bollards you find around a deserted roadworks on the motorway.”

Mr Johnson went on to say he “got Brexit done”, defended his record on the pandemic and claimed he is “fixing social care”.

He went on to say Sir Keir was doing a “funny wooden flapping gesture”, noting he does it because “he’s got the union barons pulling his strings from beneath him”.

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