The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party blamed Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday for inciting a mob protest that ambushed him and another Labour lawmaker outside parliament last week.

In an interview with the Times, Keir Starmer said prior to Johnson’s slur, he had never been accused of being a “paedophile protector” and that the prime minister’s false claim marked a new low in his already embattled premiership.

“The PM knew exactly what he was doing. It is a conspiracy theory of violent fascists that has been doing the rounds for some time,” Starmer told the daily newspaper, adding that the prime minister had used a “deliberate slur without any basis in fact.”

“I have never been called a paedophile protector before. That happened (on Monday) for the first time in my life. If others want to argue that this is unconnected with precisely what the PM said one week before then let them make that case. But they’ll never persuade me that there is no link,” asserted the Labour head.

Johnson had accused Starmer of protecting child abuser and paedophile Jimmy Savile when the leader of the opposition party was the director of public prosecutions and Head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Starmer, however, has defended himself by arguing that he had no involvement or say in the decision not to prosecute Savile.

“I knew nothing about the decision. When Savile died I instigated a review to audit whether any cases had come across the desk of any CPS officers and discovered at that stage decisions had been made. It’s not about me, it’s the way we conduct our politics. I don’t want to see us go down the route that this potentially takes us.”

Starmer, alongside fellow Labour member of parliament David Lammy, had been in a briefing at the Ministry of Defence on Monday where the pair had been discussing the Ukraine crisis before leaving and getting ambushed by a mob.

Johnson has refused to offer an apology to Starmer but instead described the incident as “absolutely disgraceful.” Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum criticised Johnson for his remarks and for not apologizing to Starmer.

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