Jacob Rees-Mogg says Keir Starmer is 'disrespectful'
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The minister criticised the Labour leader in the Commons for repeating the remark despite having been asked to retract it yesterday. He accused the Opposition of being “extraordinarily partisan” and failing to show leadership.
At PMQs on Wednesday afternoon, Sir Keir attacked the Prime Minister for being a “coward, not a leader” when clashing on the Government’s handling of the Owen Paterson scandal.
While Mr Johnson said it was “certainly a mistake” to conflate the issue of Mr Paterson’s lobbying of the Government with reforms to the system that investigates standards.
Sir Keir responded: “That’s not an apology. Everybody else has apologised for him, but he won’t apologise for himself.”
He continued: “A coward not a leader. Weeks defending corruption.”
At the end of PMQs, the Speaker demanded the Labour leader withdraw the remarks.
He said: “Coward is not what is used in this House.”
However, while he withdrew the remarks as requested, less than an hour later he repeated his attack on social media.
He wrote: “Many members of the Government have been forced to apologise for their part in covering up corruption.
“I gave Boris Johnson another chance to apologise today.
“He refused. He’s a coward, not a leader.”
The Holborn and St Pancras MP used the slur again on Twitter this morning.
Criticising his behaviour, Mr Rees-Mogg accused the Labour leader of failing to respect the Commons.
He said: “Yesterday the Leader of the Opposition had to apologise to the House and withdraw a word that he had used, which today the same man has re-tweeted about the Prime Minister.
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“And I must say, that is not only extraordinarily partisan but it is enormously disrespectful to this House and to Mr Speaker.
“To have to withdraw in this House and then scuttle out like a beetle and tweet it is, I think, utterly disrespectful to this House and not the sort of cross-party leadership that one might expect.”
Sir Lindsay Hoyle has repeatedly attempted to clamp down on behaviour in the House of Commons in recent weeks.
He has said that following the death of Sir David Amess it was important all MPs were careful with their language.
This week’s PMQs was particularly feisty, with both Sir Keir and Mr Johnson scolded.
At the end of the session, the Speaker said: “I’ll be quite honest, I think it’s been ill-tempered.
“I think it shows the public that this House has not learnt from the other week.
“I need this House to gain respect but it starts by individuals showing respect for each other.”
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