Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Sir Keir Starmer taunts PM with quip about U-turn amid partygate furore

Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)
Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)

Boris Johnson was accused of “running this country down” and mocked over an “inevitable” U-turn on a windfall tax during a rowdy Prime Minister’s Questions.

Just minutes after the publication of the report on lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer channelled his inner Mrs Merton when he asked the Prime Minister: “What is it about the Sue Gray report that first attracted him to a U-turn this week?”

During an appearance on The Mrs Merton Show in the 1990s, Caroline Aherne famously asked TV star Debbie McGee: “What attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”

Mr Johnson replied: “There is no surprise about Labour’s lust to put up taxes.”

With inflation at a 40-year high, the Government has been repeatedly pressed to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas firms to help fund support for those who are struggling.

Sir Keir said he wanted to use PMQs to focus on cost of living and said: “It sounds like he’s finally seen sense and the inevitable U-turn may finally have arrived.

“So when can people across the country expect him to use those oil and gas profits to bring down their bills?”

The Prime Minister responded: “There is nothing original about a Labour plan to tax business. They want to tax business the whole time, every day Labour wants to put up taxes on business.”

Mrs Merton, whose memorable quip to Debbie McGee, the wife of magician Paul Daniels, was channelled by Sir Keir Starmer (BBC/PA)
Mrs Merton, whose memorable quip to Debbie McGee, the wife of magician Paul Daniels, was channelled by Sir Keir Starmer (BBC/PA)

Mr Johnson later claimed Sir Keir “loves running the country down”, with the Labour leader replying: “He talks about running this country down, he is running this country down.

“It wasn’t just complacency on Labour’s windfall tax, which he’s now backing. It wasn’t just complacency on inflation, which is now through the roof. And it wasn’t just complacency on growth, which is now spluttering along at the back of the pack.

“Because his Chancellor also claimed that people should keep more of the rewards of their efforts, and then he put their taxes up.”

Sir Keir questioned how Mr Johnson’s “15 tax rises” since taking office have helped people keep more of their own money.

Mr Johnson replied: “What we’re doing is making sure after a huge pandemic that we’re funding our vital public services, which we can, because of the steps we’ve taken.”

Prime Minister’s Questions
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (House of Commons/PA)

He outlined minimum wage increases and changes to Universal Credit as ways the Government has helped people keep more money.

Mr Johnson added: “He’s completely wrong about this country’s growth performance, he runs it down, he was proved wrong about Covid and he’s going to be proved wrong again.”

Sir Keir countered: “Just delusional.”

He went on to warn over reports of a 500,000-passport backlog at the Home Office, noting: “That’s potentially more than half a million people worrying whether they will get away this summer.

“Can the Prime Minister reassure people that they won’t miss out on their holidays due to the failures of his Home Office?”

Mr Johnson said the Government has been “massively increasing” the speed at which the Passport Office delivers, adding: “To the best of my knowledge everybody is getting their passport within four to six weeks.”

The Prime Minister was heckled by the opposition benches as he attempted a run through of his greatest hits in office, which included a reference to Brexit and support for Ukraine, before criticising Labour MPs for their approach on defence matters.

Mr Johnson said of Sir Keir: “He campaigned to put Vladimir Corbyn, I mean, sorry Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.”

Labour MP Christian Wakeford (Bury South), who defected from the Tories, said Mr Johnson has been drafting “half-arsed apologies” and asked if he had changed his mind on a windfall tax “just to save his own neck”.

Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said: “When we saw pictures of the PM partying in the middle of the pandemic, was he toasting his assault on the working class?

“I ask him – how on earth does he sleep at night with so much blood on his filthy, privileged hands?”