Tory Chair orders Boris Johnson to apologise over burka comments

Brandon Lewis, the Tory party chair, has reportedly told Boris Johnson to apologise over his article in which he compared those who wear the burka to "letter boxes", and complained that they looked like "bank robbers".

Johnson wrote: "If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled – like Jack Straw – to ask her to remove it so that I could take to her properly," he said.

"If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto."

In a tweet, Lewis said that "I agree with @AlistairBurtUK. I have asked @BorisJohnson to apologise.".

However, Labour's Naz Shah warned that an apology did not go far enough, commenting: “An apology isn’t good enough. Boris Johnson’s comments weren’t accidental, they were a calculated attack in a national newspaper, made weeks after he reportedly met with Steve Bannon."

“I suggested to Brandon Lewis yesterday that the former Foreign Secretary needs to attend training and engagement with the Muslim community for Muslims to have any faith that the Conservative Party is taking this issue seriously. Clearly the Tory party has an issue with Islamophobia, but over 24 hours later the Prime Minister is still yet to say a word." she said.

“Theresa May must condemn Boris Johnson’s comments unequivocally and order an inquiry into Islamophobia in her party.”

Meanwhile Johnson has also come under fire from his own party, with Mohammed Amin, chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum also criticising the former Foreign Secretary.

Amin said that “[Boris’ article] will be seen by the ordinary British Muslim as a senior British Conservative – very senior, a man who until recently was Foreign Secretary – basically slagging off Muslims. There’s no other way to put it.

“His comments will be seized upon by others from the far right, for example, who are continuously trying to press the narrative that Islam is not a normal part of British society."

“He could apologise and he could take a Trappist vow and just stay silent for the next 12 months and it would make the country a better place.” Amin said.

 

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