Starmer says Butler was right to call PM a liar, but was rightly removed from Parliament
Labour leader Keir Starmer has said that he support and agrees with Dawn Butler after she branded Boris Johnson a liar in Parliament - but that he thinks it was the "right thing" for her to be evicted from the chamber by the Deputy Speaker.
Butler was asked to leave the House of Commons after she refused to withdraw claims that the Prime Minister had "lied to the House and the country over and over again".
Speaking on LBC, Starmer said that he agreed with her words and that it was unfair for the Brent MP to be in the spotlight as oppose to the Prime Minister himself.
He said: "I agree with what Dawn had to say, I think the Prime Minister is the master of untruths and half-truths and Dawn was simply giving examples of that.
"I think there's a lot of people that feel that it's the person who's not telling the truth not the person who's calling it out that ought to be on the hotspot."
But he went on to say that Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Judith Cummings was "following the rules" by kicking Butler out of the chamber, and that he wouldn't criticise her for that.
The Labour leader explained: "In fairness to the temporary Speaker, Judith Cummins … she did right thing – she followed the rules, because parliament doesn't allow you to call other parliamentarians liars in the chamber.
"So I don't criticise the [temporary] Speaker for what she did – she was following the rules. But do I support Dawn in what she said? I absolutely do."
Meanwhile former Commons Speaker John Bercow has waded into the debate and has called for the etiquette rule - which prevents MPs calling another member a liar in the chamber – to be ditched.
He said that Butler was entitled to claim Boris Johnson had lied, calling the parliamentary rules "absurd."
In a joint piece, Butler and Bercow wrote in The Times: "The glaring weakness of the system is that someone lying to tens of millions of citizens knows he or she is protected by an ancient rule.
"They face no sanction. By contrast, an MP with the guts to tell the truth is judged to be in disgrace. It is absurd."