Tory chiefs face calls to discipline Boris Johnson over burka comments

Written by John Johnston on 9 August 2018 in News

The Conservative MP likened women wearing burkas to “post boxes” and “bank robbers”

Boris Johnson - Image credit: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

Pressure is mounting on Conservative party officials to discipline Boris Johnson over remarks he made about women who wear burqas.

According to The Sun, the party has received “dozens” of complaints about the ex-Cabinet minister following his assertion that that women who wear burkas look like “post boxes” and “bank robbers.”

Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis has already called on the Uxbridge MP to apologise for his comments but has stopped short of launching a formal disciplinary procedure.

One senior ally of the former foreign secretary said that the row had left Brandon Lewis and Theresa May “in a pickle”.

They added: “They’ve picked a fight with Boris but they don’t want to finish it, in case he is found innocent and wins."

Johnson has so far resisted calls to apologise for the remarks, despite a plea from the Prime Minister.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson became the latest senior party figure to slam Johnson yesterday, branding the article “gratuitously offensive”.

She said: “If you use the analogy of Christianity, would you ever write in the Telegraph that you should have a debate about banning Christians from wearing crucifixes?

“It’s the same argument but it’s in a different faith so why are the parameters different for one faith and not the other?”

Meanwhile Conservative Peer Lord Sheikh told the BBC’s Newsnight that Johnson should be suspended from the party.

“Take the whip from him. Why not? He’s not a super-human being, he’s a member of the party”, he said.

“The party chairman, the Prime Minister has the right to take the whip…that’s the thing I’d like to see.”

But allies have rushed to his defence, with backbench Tory MP Conor Burns saying that those attacking the former Cabinet minister were jumping on a “bandwagon” and were “desperate not to get left behind.”

And Nadine Dorries accused Tory colleagues of trying to damage Mr Johnson’s leadership ambitions, saying: “People in Westminster are terrified Boris Johnson may make a leadership challenge and those on the Remain side particularly are going to come out and attack him in force over his burka comments.”

She added: “You cannot expect a society that celebrates gay pride and embraces gay marriage to live harmoniously when condoning the suppression of women forced to cover up, segregate and become invisible.”

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