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Keir Starmer has ramped up the pressure on Boris Johnson as the prime minister fights to save his job, arguing that the stream of explosive allegations of Downing Street parties has left him “unable to lead”.
In a speech to the Fabian Society conference, the Labour leader accused the Conservatives of running the NHS into the ground because they are “too preoccupied defending his rule breaking”. Stressing that “waiting times were the shortest on record” when Labour left government 12 years ago, he said:
Rather than concentrating on getting through the pandemic and bringing down waiting lists, this self-indulgent Tory party is instead having a fight about a leader who they should have known from the start is not fit for office.
We are witnessing the broken spectacle of a prime minister mired in deceit and deception, unable to lead.
The prime minister needs to do the honourable thing and call it a day for the good of the country.
[This is] not about one isolated incident, what we are seeing with these continued revelations coming out about what’s been going on at No 10 is a pattern of behaviour, and ultimately the buck stops with Boris Johnson.
What I’ve seen, to me it looks like Boris Johnson and those in his inner circle can do what they want and the rest of us have to do as we are told – that’s not acceptable to me, it is not acceptable to my constituents or, I believe, most people in the country. And what that certainly isn’t is ‘levelling up’ in my book.
It doesn’t matter, quite honestly, if the prime minister was present or not present – ultimately, he is responsible for what goes on in government, he is responsible for the culture in No 10 and what we’re seeing is a culture where it is one rule for them and the rest of us do as we’re told, and that’s just not acceptable.
I’m not sure that any apology is going to put that right.