Theresa May is facing a revolt in her party after it emerged that Boris Johnson is the subject of a preliminary investigation by Conservative HQ into his comments about the burka.
Brandon Lewis, the Tory party chairman, was forced to recuse himself from key elements of the investigation as aides contradicted one another over its status.
It was reported yesterday that a newspaper column in which Mr Johnson, the Uxbridge MP and former foreign secretary, likened women wearing the burka to criminals and “letterboxes” was being examined by a party investigations officer under an automatic process that kicks in after complaints are made.
Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson backs Boris Johnson in burka row
Rowan Atkinson, one of Britain’s best-known comedians, has said that Boris Johnson’s comments about the burka were funny and urged him not to apologise.
The man behind Blackadder and Mr Bean defended the former foreign secretary’s right to poke fun at religion. His intervention came as the Conservative Party started an investigation into Mr Johnson, who compared women wearing burkas to letterboxes and bank robbers.
Atkinson wrote in a letter to The Times: “As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson’s joke about wearers of the burka resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one.” Describing it as an almost perfect visual simile, he added: “All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them. You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.”
Boris Johnson could be given diversity training instead of being sanctioned over burka comments
Boris Johnson could be told to go on a diversity training course instead of facing more severe sanctions for his comments over burkas, The Telegraph has learned.
The former Foreign Secretary is facing a formal investigation by the Conservative Party for comparing women wearing the burka to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” in an article for The Telegraph.
It has prompted a furious backlash from Tory MPs who accused Brandon Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, of mounting a “witch hunt” and attempting to “kneecap” Mr Johnson.
Burka-gate reveals that for the modern Left, there is no such thing as a white victim
The hard Left defends the burka, but is silent on anti-Semitism
The Left has briefly crawled out of its noxious pit of anti-Semitic prejudice to join in with Tory centrists tossing rotten vegetables at Boris Johnson for calling burkas “ridiculous”. The Corbynistas’ insistence on the inalienable right of “the Muslim community” to eschew basic standards of Western feminism and safeguard a shudderingly oppressive garb is perplexing. Even more so given the Left’s self-image as “progressives” railing against the country’s “reactionaries”.
Former Tory leader defends Boris Johnson over burqa comments
Iain Duncan Smith says party inquiry should not be launched as comments were free speech
The former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith has said the party’s internal disciplinary system should not be used to “shut down” Boris Johnson after his controversial comments about fully veiled Muslim women.
The MP voiced unhappiness that Johnson had been referred to the party’s internal disciplinary process on Thursday, and argued that the former foreign secretary had a right to free speech, even if people took offence at his remarks.
Tory MPs turn on Brandon Lewis in Boris Johnson burka row
Conservative MPs have rounded on Brandon Lewis, the party chairman, over the decision to investigate Boris Johnson’s comments about the burka.
Mr Lewis faced a revolt in the MPs’ WhatsApp group as a former leader urged him to call off the preliminary inquiry. He quickly agreed to recuse himself from appointing any investigating panel as he had already condemned Mr Johnson’s comments and urged him to apologise.
On WhatsApp, Zac Goldsmith, the Richmond MP and former London mayoral candidate, praised an article by Munira Mirza, one of Mr Johnson’s former deputy mayors, defending him against his critics.