Croydon South MP Chris Philp has faced backlash after he appeared on morning television to defend the Prime Minister’s comments linking Sir Keir Starmer to Jimmy Saville.
Following the PM’s false claims in parliament that Sir Keir failed to prosecute Saville during his time as director of public prosecutions, the Labour leader was surrounded and harassed by protestors near parliament on Monday afternoon.
Although tweeting that the actions of protestors were ‘absolutely disgraceful’ and ‘completely unacceptable’, the PM and his office have refused to acknowledge any link between his comments and the mob’s actions.
This assertion was supported by Chris Philp, who told Kay Burley on Sky News: “I don’t think you can make a link, reasonably, between what the Prime Minister said and the harassment and intimidation.
“This group of people there were talking about a number of things, as well as Jimmy Saville.”
But fellow Croydon MP, Labour’s Sarah Jones, had a far stronger view on the PM’s comments, and those of Chris Philp.
She tweeted: “When the PM’s arguments come from the darkest corners of the internet, we have a real problem. And the shameful way @CPhilpOfficial tried to defend the PM this morning doesn’t help.”
However, the Minister for Technology and the Digital Economy further defended the PM on BBC Breakfast, saying: “The Prime Minister clarified his remarks from the previous Monday, which could have been misinterpreted.
“And because it is important that we combat disinformation, or misinformation of any kind, it was important that the Prime Minister clarified precisely what he meant, which he did.”
But many disagreed with such views, including Tooting MP, Labour’s Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, who told Good Morning Britain: “I think if Boris Johnson is truly sorry about what’s happened, he needs to come to parliament and apologise unreservedly, like so many of his MPs are asking him to do.
“Words really matter, and I think nobody wants to see what happened yesterday happen to any MP, of any political party. It’s dangerous and it’s damaging.”
And Battersea MP, Labour’s Marsha de Cordova, had a similar response to the PM’s failure to apologise.
Quoting Johnson’s tweet condemning the mob action towards Sir Keir, she said: “This from a man who refuses to take any responsibility for his actions. Apologise then resign.”
Chris Philp’s office were approached for clarification but were not available for comment.
(Feature Image Credit: unsplash.com Photographer: Jamie Street, Big Ben, London, United Kingdom, Published on September 15, 2016)