Boris Johnson facing party probe over burqa comments

Casey GreeneAug 10, 2018

It is understood that the process is being triggered automatically after the receipt of a number of complaints over the former foreign secretary's comparison of Muslim women in face-covering veils with bank robbers or letter boxes.

Johnson resigned as Britain's top diplomat a month ago after claiming Prime Minister Theresa May's proposals for a soft exit from the European Union were killing the dream of clear, decisive split from the bloc.

"It's not language I would have used and I think he was wrong to have used that language, and I agree with Brandon Lewis", May said.

Under party rules, complaints that are obviously trivial, lacking in merit or those which cannot fairly be investigated can be dismissed by the head of the investigation.

The former Foreign Secretary is facing a possible investigation into breaches of the Conservative Party code of conduct for his comments. May acknowledged that Johnson's comments had "clearly caused offence".

"I also know that many other people believe strongly that in the whole of the article, what Mr Johnson appears to have been attempting to do was say that there shouldn't be a ban - and that he was encouraging legitimate debate".

"We need responsibility and action from our politicians, not pandering to the far-right. Such crass commentary should have no place in our political discourse".

France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Latvia, the Netherlands and the German region of Bavaria have all implemented restrictions on wearing full-face coverings in public in recent years.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson backed calls for an apology today, calling Mr Johnson's column "gratuitously offensive".

The former minister Anna Soubry added: "Many One Nation Tories would not stay in the Conservative Party should Boris Johnson become leader".

In a Sunday column for The Telegraph declaring that the burqa should not be banned in the United Kingdom, Johnson made remarks about the controversial clothing that some people considered a dog-whistle for Islamophobia.

"There is a rise in Islamophobic abuse - I have personally faced verbal and even physical abuse, and only two weeks ago I came across a woman who had her niqab pulled off while she was working in her shop".

"If a woman wants to wear a short dress, it is her right and freedom to do so".

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