Theresa May condemns Boris Johnson's burka comments

Elias Hubbard
August 9, 2018

He resigned from the cabinet last month, and in a newspaper column this week compared fully veiled Muslim women to "letter boxes" and "bank robbers".

A former chairman of the Conservative Party has backed growing calls for Boris Johnson to apologise for his "unacceptable" remarks about women in burkas.

Now, Theresa May has said she agrees with Mr Lewis, upping the pressure on Mr Johnson, who has so far refused to apologise and dismissed his critics as "ridiculous".

"It is very clear that the language Boris Johnson used to describe people's appearance has caused offence, it is not language that I would have used, and I think it was wrong to have used such language".

There was no immediate sign that Johnson planned to back down.

"It is ridiculous that these views are being attacked - we must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on hard issues", a source close to Johnson told reporters.

Speaking in Edinburgh, she said: "I believe and the Government believes, that the question of how a woman should dress is a matter for a woman's individual choice; nobody should be telling a woman how to dress. If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists".

Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chairwoman, accused Johnson of adopting the "dog-whistle" tactics of right-wing firebrand Steve Bannon, US President Donald Trump's former top aide.

Opposition MPs also directly attacked the Prime Minister and Mr Lewis for failing to act despite blatant Islamophobia.

"These remarks are not only deeply offensive, but are nothing to do with protecting the rights of any woman of Muslim faith or otherwise, and are instead everything to do with shoring up her choice of Tory party leader, Boris Johnson, who is himself a
national disgrace". The clothing has already been banned in France.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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