Starmer played five-a-side football ‘as normal’ after being confronted by mob

Labour said the party leader was ‘fine’ after being accosted by anti-Covid restriction demonstrators.

09 February 2022

Sir Keir Starmer was “fine” after being mobbed by anti-Covid restriction protesters and played football later that evening, his spokesman confirmed.

Police had to bundle the Labour leader into a blue-light vehicle to drive him away from demonstrators on Monday, some of whom accused him of “protecting paedophiles” – comments that have been linked to a jibe made by the Prime Minister.

A spokesman for the opposition leader told reporters: “He’s fine, thank you for asking.

“He was back at his desk straight after. Police did their job.

“Obviously these things look sort of rougher on the camera often than they are.

“But, as I say, police did a good job, he was back at his desk afterwards and he was off playing five-a-side football that night as normal.”

In the wake of the ambush, a host of Conservative and opposition MPs have renewed calls for Boris Johnson to apologise for what has been branded a “scurrilous accusation” against Sir Keir.

Mr Johnson last week accused his rival of failing to prosecute notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile while he was director of public prosecutions.

The Prime Minister has looked to clarify the remarks but has not apologised.

Labour said there was “concern” that Mr Johnson had given “legitimacy” to far-right conspiracies that had possibly fuelled demonstrators to ambush Sir Keir outside Parliament.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) was able to return to work and even play football in the evening following his ambush by demonstrators
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) was able to return to work and even play football in the evening following his ambush by demonstrators (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A spokesman for the opposition leader said: “You will have heard Labour spokespeople say in the last 24 hours that there has been concern at the Prime Minister giving legitimacy to these views that originated in the dark corners of the internet, in far-right conspiracies.

“And I think there is a question over whether these are ideas that the Prime Minister should give legitimacy to by raising them at the despatch box in the House of Commons.”

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.

Labour said Monday’s incident occurred when Sir Keir, who was accompanied by shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, was walking back from the Ministry of Defence after a briefing on the situation in Ukraine.

The party said it would not be commenting on whether security arrangements would be being scaled up following the incident.

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