Article image Britain in a frenzy over Boris Johnson's burqa comments

UK PM May urges Boris Johnson to apologise for burqa comments

He also asked why they would "go around looking like letter boxes" and compared them to "bank robbers".

The PM, Tory chairman Brandon Lewis and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson have all urged Mr Johnson to apologise in the Burka row.

The Blackadder and Mr Bean star, who has previously made free speech interventions, said the former Cabinet minister had made a "pretty good" joke when he suggested women wearing face-veils looked like letterboxes, and insisted it was pointless to apologise for joking about religion as it always causes offence. "On that basis, no apology is required", he wrote, in a letter to the Times.

If the three-member panel find a breach of the partys code of conduct, they could refer Johnson to the party's board, which would have the power to suspend or expel him. "Extraordinary to think he was foreign secretary only a few weeks ago".

"The burqa and niqab are disgusting tribal ninja-like garments that are pre-Islamic, non-Koranic and therefore un-Muslim", he wrote in The Times.

Mr Johnson has also won the support of Tory former chief whip Andrew Mitchell, who said the Uxbridge MP had used "colourful" language but had not committed an offence. "That is why people are asking him to apologise".

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Some things are as certain as night following day or Jeff Stelling getting over-excited about a fairly innocuous footballing incident - and sure enough, Boris Johnson sparked outrage this week. It's not the job of the Prime Minister to tell backbenchers what to do.

Keith Parker told the BBC's World at One on Wednesday, August 8: "It was a bit tongue in cheek and I would expect most people to accept it as that".

Johnson's remarks have come under severe criticism, with some branding them as a sign Islamophobia in the UK's ruling Conservative party.

"I don't think the comment itself is racist - he may have been poking fun and I can't blame the women who wear burkas taking umbrage at it".

This isn't the first time Rowan Atkinson has spoken out about free speech - in fact, he spent years campaigning against legislation that eventually made it an offence to incite religious hatred.

'Full bandwagon jumping territory'Conor Burns, Tory MP for Bournemouth West'It's bash Boris'Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire " This [inquiry is] being use to try and discredit Boris Johnson from people who are anxious about him in inside the Conservative party and outside the Conservative party. "Nevertheless we do so because we believe it is a means to get closer to God", the women said in a letter.

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