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UK PM May urges Boris Johnson to apologise for burqa comments

09 August 2018

Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary in July, accusing Theresa May of killing "the Brexit dream" with her plan to seek close economic ties with the European Union after the United Kingdom leaves the bloc next year.

A majority of adults in the United Kingdom do not believe Boris Johnson's comments describing women who wear burkas as looking like "letter boxes" and "bank robbers" are racist, a poll has suggested.

Seen as a way to burnish his credentials for a future leadership contest in a climate of right-wing headwinds in Europe, Johnson set forth his views on the recent burka ban in Denmark in his column in The Daily Telegraph.

He added: "The retrogressive Islamic clergy has succeeded in persuading ill-informed Muslims through suspect secondary sources that God wants women to cover their faces, when in reality it is a toxic patriarchy controlling women".

The assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Miqdaad Versi, said Mr Johnson was "pandering to the far-right", while Labour MP David Lammy branded him a "pound-shop Donald Trump". They send out a message that Muslim women are fair game.

Senior Tories agree on one thing: Boris Johnson knew exactly what he was doing when he penned the phrases - albeit in the context of opposing a ban on face-covering veils - that have caused such a furore.

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

Speaking in East Lothian, she said: "I think that this wasn't an off-the-cuff slip".

"It would be a sensible thing for him to apologise".

A source close to Johnson said, "We must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on hard issues".

"It's not the job of the Prime Minister to tell backbenchers what to do. If we fail to speak up for liberal".

UK PM May urges Boris Johnson to apologise for burqa comments