Fri, 8 December 2023

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Boris Johnson cleared by Tory probe into burka 'letter box' comments

2 min read

Boris Johnson has been cleared by a Conservative Party probe into comments he made about women who wear burkas.

The former Foreign Secretary sparked controversy in August when he likened those wearing the traditional Muslim garb to "post boxes" and "bank robbers".

He made the remarks in a Daily Telegraph column in which he criticised Denmark for banning women from wearing the burka and niqab.

"If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you," Mr Johnson wrote. "If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree – and I would add that I can find no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran.

"I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes."

Tory chiefs decided to launch a probe into whether Mr Johnson's remarks broke the party's code of conduct after receiving dozens of complaints, including from former Conservative co-chair Sayeeda Warsi.

But it has now emerged that the independent panel of legal experts who carried out the investigation have ruled that he was "respectful and tolerant" in the Telegraph article, and had been exercising his right to free speech.

A friend of Mr Johnson said: "It is welcome news that Boris has rightly been cleared of any breach of the code.

"The panel’s ruling completely supported what Boris said from the very beginning - his article did foster respect and tolerance for the wearing of the burka."

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