Monday 25 March 2019

Boris won't say sorry over burka 'letterbox' jibe

Unrepentant: Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Unrepentant: Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Steven Swinford

Former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson will refuse to apologise for saying women wearing burkas looked liked letterboxes, despite Theresa May saying his remarks were offensive.

Allies of Brexit cheerleader Johnson have accused the Conservative Party of trying to "shut down" legitimate debate about wearing burkas.

Mr Johnson sparked a row after he wrote in a column that women who wore face veils looked like bank robbers, prompting accusations he was stoking Islamophobia.

However, an ally of Mr Johnson insisted he would not be apologising, warning: "If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists."

Mrs May has backed a call by Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis for Mr Johnson to apologise, saying the remarks have "clearly caused offence".

Mr Johnson said should not follow Denmark in banning women from wearing burkas, but warned that they are "oppressive".

Irish Independent

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