Conservatives to investigate Boris Johnson's burqa comments - Newspaper

Who’s really racist- Boris or his critics

Rowan Atkinson has stepped into the Boris Johnson row, saying that the former Foreign Secretary should not apologise for saying that women in burkas looked like "letterboxes" and "bank robbers" - because the remarks were amusing.

Under the Conservative Party's new code of conduct, when a formal complaint is made, the party have to investigate it.

Some things are as certain as night following day or Jeff Stelling getting over-excited about a fairly innocuous footballing incident - and sure enough, Boris Johnson sparked outrage this week. He is instead more likely to be told.

Johnson's comments were criticized by Muslim groups and politicians including Prime Minister Theresa May, who urged Johnson to apologize.

Johnson said that schools and universities should expect students to remove face coverings if they turn up "looking like a bank robber".

The remarks faced harsh criticism, and he was asked by Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis, to apologise. His Brexiteer credentials were bolstered when he resigned as foreign secretary in July, accusing May of killing "the Brexit dream" with her plan to seek close economic ties with the bloc after Brexit next year.

But Atkinson, in a letter to The Times, said the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip had just been telling a joke.

Arkinson has previously been a vocal defender of the right to make jokes about religion: "All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them".

"The code of conduct process is strictly confidential", a Conservative party spokesperson said, refusing to elaborate on the procedure.

'You should really only apologise for a bad joke. "On that basis, no apology is required".

With a Tory party inquiry into Johnson's conduct announced on Thursday, the matter looks set to rumble on.

"The burqa and niqab are ugly tribal ninja-like garments that are pre-Islamic, non-Koranic and therefore un-Muslim", he wrote in The Times.

"I think a lot of your listeners will be deeply anxious about the state of our democracy and free speech", he told talkRadio.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he added: "Just because we find something distasteful doesn't mean it's either illegal or it shouldn't happen".

Johnson wrote in The Daily Telegraph this week that Denmark was wrong to ban the burqa, a head-to-toe cloak which conceals the face with a mesh or is worn in conjunction with the niqab - a face veil that leaves only the eyes exposed.



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