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Mon, 6 April 2020

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Senior Tory MP slams Boris Johnson for 'ill-judged' comments about Muslim women

Senior Tory MP slams Boris Johnson for 'ill-judged' comments about Muslim women
2 min read

A senior Tory MP has condemned Boris Johnson for his "really ill-judged" comments comparing female Muslims wearing the burqa to letter boxes.

Caroline Nokes, who is the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said the Prime Minister should "think very carefully" about what he says about ethnic minorities and women.

Mr Johnson sparked a furious row over his remarks, which were contained in a column he wrote for the Daily Telegraph in 2018.

He said it was "absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes".

And he said school teachers or university lecturers would be within their rights to refuse to talk to students who arrived at class "looking like a bank robber".

Asked about Mr Johnson's choice of language in an interview with The House, Ms Nokes said: "I think that it is incumbent on the prime minister to think very carefully about what he is saying and the impact it could have on certain communities, on different ethnicities, on women."

The former immigration minister added: "I think his comments have been really ill-judged, and the one that stands out to mind was the comment about letter boxes. And I have always held the view that it's not for any man to tell any woman what she should wear - advice that I would sometimes shout at  my own father when he comments on what I'm wearing.

"But I think the Prime Minister's choice of words when grabbing headlines and being a newspaper columnist were unfortunate.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Ms Nokes also said the UK had become a "less tolerant" country.

Asked about the dramatic rise in hate crimes against different minority groups in England and Wales, she said: "I think people are much more willing to come forward and report hate crimes of whatever sort. And that's great. And we must give people not only an environment in which they feel confident to be able to do so, but the support that they need once they have, but I don't think you can shy away from those stats.

"Do I think the country has become less tolerant? Yeah, I do. And I think it's incumbent upon government, it's incumbent upon the education system, it's incumbent upon all of us to be more tolerant, and to be more understanding.

“We're really good as a country at having some national outpourings of grief and upset over high profile things but actually that massive increase in hate crimes towards people from LGBTQ perspectives, from disabled people, from different ethnicities is just horrific."

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