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Tories launch probe into Boris Johnson over burka comments

Tories launch probe into Boris Johnson over burka comments

Liz Bates

3 min read

The Conservative party has launched a formal probe into Boris Johnson’s controversial remarks about women who wear burkas.


According to the Evening Standard, the ex-Cabinet Minister's comments will be looked at by an investigatory panel headed by a lawyer, with the move set to be announced this afternoon.  

Mr Johnson has been under fire over a Telegraph article in which he said women who wear burqas looked like “post boxes” and “bank robbers.”

The party has reportedly received “dozens” of complaints about the piece, putting pressure on Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis to take action.

A source said the internal inquiry was designed to quell the public anger and political division that had erupted since Mr Johnson made the comments.

They said: “It is not personal and it has nothing to do with Brexit, it is simply the same rules that apply to everyone in the party.”

Responding to the news, Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi said the incident was not isolated and called for a wider inquiry into Islamophobia within the Tory party. 

 

A Labour party source said: "The Tory party is on trial. Either Boris is guilty or the Tories condone Islamophobia."   

Responding to the mouting specualtion around the inquiry, a Conservative Party spokesman said: "The code of conduct process is strictly confidential."

Both Theresa May and Brandon Lewis have called on the former Foreign Secretary to apologise, but Mr Johnson has yet to respond publicly.

Other senior figures have condemned the remarks, with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson branding them “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?”

Conservative Peer Lord Sheikh told Newsnight that Mr Johnson should be suspended, while former attorney general Dominic Grieve said he would quit the party if Mr Johnson ever became the leader.    

But allies have rushed to Mr Johnson’s 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.”

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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