BORIS Johnson attempted to defend himself from attacks over the findings of the Sue Gray report by apparently falsely insinuating Keir Starmer was responsible for Jimmy Savile never being prosecuted.

The Prime Minister said Keir Starmer had spent his time as director of public prosecutions “prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile”.

The claim comes from right-wing talking points shared online which falsely claim Starmer while head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had stopped Savile from being prosecuted.

Ash Sarkar, contributing editor of Novara Media, said Johnson was “parroting far right attack lines cribbed straight from Telegram”. Telegram has been called right-wing extremists’ “new favourite platform”.

While Starmer was the head of the CPS when it decided against charging Savile, he was not directly involved in the case, which was handled by Surrey Police and a CPS reviewing lawyer.

Surrey Police in 2007 and 2008 investigated three complaints that Saville had sexually abused young girls. It led to Savile being interviewed under caution but not arrested and police decided not to charge the former BBC presenter because none of the victims were “prepared to support any police action”, including testifying in court.

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Since Savile’s death in 2011, it emerged he had sexually abused hundreds of children and women.

In 2013, Starmer commissioned Alison Levitt QC to investigate the CPS’s decision not to prosecute Savile. She said the police’s approach to the investigation made the women reluctant to give evidence and help prosecutors.

Starmer admitted there were “errors in judgement” and apologised for “shortcomings” in the investigation. The CPS’s guidance on prosecuting child sex abuse was updated as a result.

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Following a statement from the Prime Minister on the findings of Sue Gray’s report on lockdown-busting gatherings in Downing Street, Starmer said Johnson had “routinely” broken the rules, taking the public “for fools”.

He added: “He held peoples’ sacrifice in contempt and proved himself unfit for office.”

Johnson attacked Starmer, calling him “a former director of public prosecutions, who spent more time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile”.

He added: “He used this moment to prejudge a police inquiry. He’s reached his conclusions about it, I’m not going to come to any conclusions, it would be completely wrong to do so.”