John McDonnell accuses Boris Johnson of 'demeaning the office of Prime Minister' over Commons jibes

Posted On: 
4th September 2019

Boris Johnson was accused of “demeaning the office of Prime Minister” by John McDonnell for heckling him in the Commons.

Boris Johnson was criticised by John McDonnell for heckling him in the House of Commons
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor launched a stinging attack on the Tory leader after they repeatedly clashed during a debate on the Government's Spending Review.

Mr McDonnell was responding to Sajid Javid’s speech when the PM began taunting him from the benches opposite.

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He interrupted his statement to address Mr Johnson with a jibe about the much-publicised row he had with partner Carrie Symonds in June, saying: “Mr Speaker, I believe the honourable member for Uxbridge is shouting at me.

“Last time he was shouting at someone, they had to call the police.”

Speaking about the incident afterwards, Mr McDonnell said: “I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a Prime Minister behave like an inexperienced backbencher

“I just thought it demeaned the office of Prime Minister and I don’t think we would have seen any past Prime Minister behaving that way.”

He was also sharply critical of Mr Javid’s first performance as Chancellor at the Despatch Box, after Speaker John Berow ruled he had been out of order for devoting too much of it to attacking Labour over Brexit.

“I don’t want to get personal but someone in the Treasury should have checked the speech," said Mr McDonnell. “And that’s the last time I think we’ll have Dominic Cummings writing a speech I think.”

The Labour frontbencher was also asked about what his party plans to do in Wednesday’s vote in Parliament to call an election next month.

He said they did not want to “be tricked or conned by Boris Johnson”, and confirmed they would not back a snap poll until it was sure a no-deal Brexit had been ruled out.

Mr McDonnell said they may wait until the Extension Bill was given Royal Assent, so “he can’t wriggle out of implementing the law.”

He said: “We’re dealing with a very slippery customer whose association with the truth can be construed as passing to say the least.

“There’s nothing that Johnson has done in the past few weeks that gives us the confidence that he would abide by the law.

“We’re dealing with an executive that is out of democratic control, that’s the problem."