THE Tory minister tasked with tackling online disinformation has insisted Boris Johnson’s bogus claims about Keir Starmer and Jimmy Savile were “correct”.

The Prime Minister is facing fresh calls to apologise for his widely discredited claim that the Labour leader failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile, after a mob which accosted Starmer outside Parliament accused him of “protecting paedophiles”.

The Tory leader has been accused of “injecting poison into politics”, with Tory MPs and opposition politicians condemning his remarks, which were made at PMQs last week.

But technology and digital economy minister Chris Philp said his boss had been right all along, and cannot be held responsible for the actions of the mob.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The words on the face of it were correct, but it was capable of being misinterpreted.”

Philp also confused matters further by mixing up Starmer and Savile.

He told the BBC: “What the Prime Minister did was last week, within a couple of days of the original comments, was clarified exactly what his comments meant. He was very clear that he was not suggesting that Jimmy Savile was in any way personally and individually responsible for prosecution decisions about Jimmy Savile. He was very, very clear about that in his clarification.”

The technology minister, who later corrected the mix up, added: “But obviously [Starmer] did have responsibility for the conduct of the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service).”

He continued: “I don’t think there is any way you can reasonably suggest that the comments on Keir Starmer’s overall responsibility for the CPS in any way provoked the very unseemly and totally unacceptable harassment we saw last night.”

Philp said that some of those targeting Starmer had been involved in similar incidents targeting Communities Secretary Michael Gove and the BBC journalist Nick Watt.

“They did mention Jimmy Savile," he told Sky News. "They also mentioned Julian Assange repeatedly, they mentioned Covid, they also mentioned the opposition more generally."

READ MORE: Tory government 'moving from misinformation to disinformation'

At least six Conservatives, including a former Cabinet minister, have joined MPs from across the political spectrum in linking the harassment of Starmer to the baseless claim Johnson made while under pressure over the partygate scandal.

The Prime Minister falsely claimed Starmer “used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” while Director of Public Prosecutions.

Coming under renewed criticism, Johnson tweeted the “behaviour directed” at the Labour leader was “absolutely disgraceful” but did not address the nature of the abuse.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the if the Prime Minister “has any decency at all” he would say sorry for “choosing to weaponise online conspiracy theories against opponents”.

Julian Smith, who previously served as Northern Ireland secretary, tweeted: “What happened to Keir Starmer tonight outside parliament is appalling.

“It is really important for our democracy & for his security that the false Savile slurs made against him are withdrawn in full.”

Former minister Stephen Hammond, one of the 15 Tory MPs to have publicly called for Johnson to resign over alleged Covid breaches, said he agreed with Smith, as did Robert Largan and Aaron Bell, who were elected in 2019.

Senior Tory Sir Roger Gale urged Johnson to make a Commons apology on Tuesday over the abuse which he feared could be the result of Johnson’s “deliberately careless” Savile allegation.

Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, told the Prime Minister to “apologise please”.

“Let’s stop this drift towards a Trumpian style of politics from becoming the norm,” he added.

Officers stepped in to protect the opposition leader as the group, some protesting against Covid measures, followed him from outside Scotland Yard.

On at least two videos posted to social media, a man and a woman were heard shouting about Savile to the Labour leader, as he walked with shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.

Scotland Yard said two people were arrested on suspicion of assault after a traffic cone was thrown at a police officer during the unrest.

Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, said the mobbing of Starmer could have been an “unintended consequence” of the Prime Minister’s choice to “inject poison into politics” with his Savile comment.

“If it was a one-off, I think we could be more sanguine about it,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But I think what we’ve seen over the last few years really has been an increase in that level of intimidation online, absolutely, but also face to face."

Pointing to the murders of MPs Cox and David Amess in recent years, SNP parliamentarian David Linden told Politics Live: “There’s a cruel irony that yesterday in the House of Commons we had the new MP for Southend West, who replaced Sir David Amess after his tragic killing, introduced to Parliament.

“It's not that long ago that we saw another MP murdered sadly, and so the Prime Minister at the very least has an obligation to take the temperature down. The best way you can do that is to apologise, call off the dogs, but then more fundamentally we need to get back to this Prime Minister's character, which I think is utterly unfit for office and that's a view that's shared by many of my constituents and people across Scotland.”

Starmer apologised while director of public prosecutions in 2013 for the CPS having failed to bring Savile to justice four years earlier.

There is, however, no evidence that Starmer had any personal role in the failure to prosecute the man who was one of Britain’s most egregious sex offenders before his death in 2011.