starmer-brands-johnson-a-‘bull*******’-and-leadership-candidates-‘b-grade’

Starmer brands Johnson a ‘bull*******’ and leadership candidates ‘B grade’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has branded Boris Johnson a “complete bull*******” who “took the **** out of the public” over partygate.

Asked about the departing prime minister’s legacy in an episode of The Rest Is Politics podcast, he said Mr Johnson had been “found out” over the lockdown-breaking gatherings in Downing Street.

But rather than just the rule-breaking, it was the “ridiculous defences afterwards” that riled the public.

Politics Hub: Mordaunt and Truss set for battle for second spot in Tory leadership race

Sir Keir told the presenters – former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell and ex-Tory MP Rory Stewart – there was a “general realisation” from voters at the last local election “that this guy bull*****, and if he’s bull******** about that, he’s probably bull******** about everything” – including plans to level up the country.

“That’s why I don’t think there was ever any way back for him from that, and I think it’s really good for the country that we’re seeing the back him,” he added.

But the Labour leader didn’t restrict his insults to the current Conservative leader, calling all the runners to replace him “B grade candidates”.

He said: “I really don’t mind which of them I go up against… most of them are tainted by having propped up Johnson.

“I constantly get this question – which of them do you fear? I don’t fear any of them. They’re a busted flush, the whole project is broken.”

Sir Keir’s remarks came on the day Mr Johnson faces his final Prime Minister’s Questions and as Tory MPs vote for the last two candidates in the race to succeed him in Number 10.

The final three in the Tory leadership contest

Image:
The final three in the Tory leadership contest are Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt

But he said a new leader wouldn’t fix the Conservatives, claiming the party had been “more divided… for longer than people think” – pointing to rows over Brexit since the referendum, rather than just recent scandals in Downing Street.

“You’ve [also] got so-called red wall Tory MPs with so-called blue Tory MPs who want completely different things,” added the Labour leader. “So it’s not just that the government hasn’t got, for example, an economic strategy, it’s not capable of having one. Because they can’t hold that coalition together.

“So, that’s why I think the idea that they’re going to elect someone as the new leader and they’re going to get their mojo back and it’s all going to unite… I just can’t see that. This is a bitter battle about the very purpose of the Conservative Party.”

But Sir Keir claimed the biggest challenge now was to prove to voters politics could be a “force for good”.

“Because of people like Johnson who debase politics and drag everybody into the gutter, there is this general sense that you’re all the same,” he said.

“That is a very dangerous place to get to. It’s why Johnson in the end drags everyone into the gutter with him.”