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A Labour MP was right to call Boris Johnson a liar in the Commons, party leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

Sir Keir backed Dawn Butler, who was kicked out of the chamber last week for refusing to withdraw her claim that the prime minister has “lied to the House and the country over and over again”.

“I agree with what Dawn had to say,” he told LBC.

“I think the prime minister is the master of untruths and half-truths, and Dawn was simply giving some examples of that.

“I think there’s a lot of people that feel that, you know, it’s the person who’s not telling the truth rather than the person who’s calling it out that ought to be on the hotspot. So, I agree with Dawn on that.”

Brent Central MP Ms Butler was asked to withdraw her remarks several times by temporary deputy Commons Speaker Judith Cummins but refused to do so, resulting in her being asked to leave the chamber for the rest of the day.

Under parliamentary etiquette rules, it is not permitted for one MP to call another a liar.

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Sir Keir added: “In fairness to the temporary speaker, Judith Cummings, who was there, she did the 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 speaker … the deputy speaker for what she did, she was following the rules. But do I support Dawn in what she said? I absolutely do.”

Ms Butler, a former member of the shadow cabinet, tweeted in the wake of the incident: “I have been thrown out of Parliament for saying what we all know: Boris Johnson has lied to the House of Commons and the country over and over again.

“But I’ve got news for the Tories, I will never stop speaking truth to power!”

In a video posted on social media later on Thursday, she added: “I am just leaving parliament now because I have been thrown out for calling Boris Johnson a liar.

“But he is a liar. He’s lied to the House and the country over and over again and I’ve had enough and I had to call it out – so, I’m leaving parliament.”

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How Beth Rigby prepared a ‘narrative’ for Starmer and Sunak grilling – and why an early jog almost ruined everything

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How Beth Rigby prepared a 'narrative' for Starmer and Sunak grilling - and why an early jog almost ruined everything

Beth Rigby has revealed how she decided on a “narrative” before quizzing the Labour and Tory leaders at Sky News’s special event – and how a morning run almost scuppered everything.

Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak took turns for a 45-minute grilling at Sky News’ Battle For Number 10 in Grimsby, with questions coming from a representative audience.

First to interrogate both leaders was political editor Rigby, who has lifted the lid on what it’s like to prepare, execute (and almost miss) the big event.

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“Kay Burley told me when I first came into telly ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’,” she told former Labour MP Margaret Hodge on the Electoral Dysfunction podcast.

“So, I took these two mottos into this very intense interview prep… you get loads of information and you start to try and work out what’s the narrative that you want to tell.”

The secret, she said, is to look at everything and then “distill it” until you have a clear “narrative arc”.

“With Starmer, the thing really was – how can you trust this guy? That was the premise,” she said.

“But for Sunak, it was like, you say you’ve got a clear plan, you say you’re going to deliver… so, what’s the Conservative record? But more importantly, what’s your record?

“Because you’ve actually been prime minister. You made five pledges, and then there was a broader question about what were the betrayals to the British people.”

Sir Keir Starmer leaders' debate
Image:
Beth Rigby in action

Read more:
How the Sky News event unfolded online
What we learnt at leaders’ event

But disaster almost struck before the event had even started.

“The night before, I woke up at, like, five in the morning, fully awake,” she said, adding she could “feel the adrenaline”.

So, she decided to go for a run.

“I just saw I’m coming to the end of the road. And I went to turn round, and, as I turned, I nearly ran into a moving car. So, I nearly got run over,” she explained.

Not the kind of car crash anyone would have expected that day.

Email the team electoraldysfunction@sky.uk, post on X to @BethRigby, or send a WhatsApp voice note on 07934 200 444.

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