'That won't work with the police': Boris Johnson urged to 'sharpen answers under interview' at PMQs

What political price will Boris Johnson pay for his behaviour during the pandemic? Daniel Hewitt reports

Boris Johnson has been accused of having "no respect for decency or honesty" by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at a feisty session of Prime Minister's Questions.

Much of the sparring between the two leaders focused on disagreement over tax rises but the PM was repeatedly accused of being dishonest - over "stealth taxes", partygate and his Jimmy Savile claims.

The PM spoke of his achievements in government and how the public had been supported through the pandemic, but Sir Keir said he provided MPs with "lots of words, lots of bluster, no answers".

The Labour leader told Mr Johnson a lack of answers is "not going to work with the police", as he referred to a police investigation looking into 12 potentially illegal events which took place on Downing Street during the pandemic.

The matters being investigated would only result in Fixed Penalty Notices and someone facing such punishment would not normally be interviewed by police.

But that didn't stop Sir Keir from telling Mr Johnson to "sharpen how he answers questions under interview - he's going to need it in the next few weeks".

Mr Johnson was also accused of using "conspiracy theories of violent fascists" to score political points, following his false claim that Sir Keir Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

But the PM refused to withdraw those comments, hitting back: "I am told that in 2013, he apologised and took full responsibility for what had happened on his watch. I think that was the right thing to do."

Sir Keir said Mr Johnson was trying "gaslight" Britons by making "absurd" claims he is cutting taxes when they are about to increase.

The Labour leader pressed the prime minister over cost of living concerns as Tory backbenchers continue to voice opposition to the forthcoming National Insurance hike.

He compared Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to fictional outlaws Thelma and Louise - saying they are about to "drive the country off the cliff and into the abyss of low growth and high tax".

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Mr Johnson is a "dangerous distraction at home and a joke on the international stage", telling the prime minister "he must go".

Tory MP Anthony Mangnall announced he'd submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM just hours after senior backbencher Tobias Ellwood did the same.

Explaining his decision to Sky News, he said his colleagues have been struggling with the "horrible" task of having to "continuously" defend the partygate scandal to the public.

"I don't think the prime minister realises how worried colleagues are in every corner of the party, backbenchers and ministers alike, that this is all only going one way and will invariably slide towards a very ugly place," said the Conservative MP for Bournemouth East.

He added: "I will be submitting my letter today to the 1922 Committee."

More allegations against Mr Johnson surfaced on Tuesday evening, with newspapers reporting he was inside his flat for a gathering which is currently being investigated by police.

It is one of twelve events subject to criminal investigations by the Metropolitan Police, which launched its own probe after being passed evidence by Sue Gray - the civil servant who was conducting an internal inquiry into partygate.

She condemned a "failure of leadership" in Number 10 under the prime minister's watch, but was unable to publish any evidence of potential criminality that she'd uncovered because of the police investigation.

At PMQs two weeks ago Christian Wakeford defected from the Tories to Labour just before the session began. He was then urged to quit by during PMQs by David Davis, the most senior backbencher so far to call on Mr Johnson to resign.

Around 20 letters of no confidence have been submitted in the PM, way short of the 54 required to trigger a vote of no confidence which could see Mr Johnson removed as leader.