Boris Johnson’s “Captain Hindsight” nickname for Sir Keir Starmer is not “rude” or “unpleasant”, Downing Street aides have insisted.
The Prime Minister continued to use the label just days after he was said to want “kind and civil” political debate.
Mr Johnson’s press secretary Allegra Stratton said the jibe was “not a rude word or uncivil” but was a way of making a point about Sir Keir’s position on key decisions taken during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday Ms Stratton told reporters that “the Prime Minister believes that all of us, in our political language, in our debate, need to remember to be civil and kind to each other”.
Asked how that message tallied with Mr Johnson’s conduct in the Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Ms Stratton said: “In the Prime Minister’s opinion, Captain Hindsight is not an unpleasant name.
“Captain Hindsight is the description of a politician who keeps coming forward and saying that ‘the solution was obvious’ when previously he had not actually decided one way or the other.”
She added that the plea for “kind and civil language” was in relation to “the bad, unpleasant treatment that Conservative MPs received… when months ago the issue of free school meals came up and they received a great many unpleasant and unacceptable messages”.