Northern Ireland news

Boris Johnson refused to apologise for Keir Starmer IRA jibe

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Connla Young

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to apologise to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after a clash over the IRA in the House of Commons.

The remarks were made during a heated exchange today during Prime Minister's question time.

The row broke out after Mr Johnson referred to Mr Starmer's role in the shadow government under former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has long standing links with republicans.

“This is a leader of the opposition who supported an IRA-condoning politician who wanted to get out of Nato, and now says absolutely nothing about it,” Mr Johnson said.

Mr Starmer reacted angrily to the remarks and referred to his time as the Director of Public Prosecutions urging Mr Johnson to withdraw his remarks.

“I want him to take it back,” he said.

“I worked for five years with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, as director of public prosecutions, prosecuting serious terrorism, working with the intelligence and security services, and the police.

“Can the prime minister have the decency to withdraw that comment?”

During the heated session speaker Lindsay Hoyle asked Mr Johnson if he wanted to withdraw his allegation.

However, Mr Johnson continued his attack on the Labour leader prompting another angry response.

“When the prime minister has worked with the security and intelligence forces, prosecuting criminals and terrorists, he can lecture me,” Mr Starmer said.

“I asked him to do the decent thing, but doing the decent thing and this prime minister don’t go together."

A spokesman for Mr Starmer later suggested Mr Johnson should concentrate in blocking a peerage for Claire Fox, who is due to take a seat in the House of Lords and who previously voiced support for republicans.

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