UK PM May urges Boris Johnson to apologise for burqa comments

UK PM May urges Boris Johnson to apologise for burqa comments

A former chairman of the Conservative Party has backed growing calls for Boris Johnson to apologise for his "unacceptable" remarks about women in burkas.

"I spoke last night to my very experienced officers who deal with hate crime and, although we have not yet received any allegation of such a crime, I can tell you that my preliminary view having spoken to them is that what Mr Johnson said would not reach the bar for a criminal offence".

Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chairwoman, accused Johnson of adopting the "dog-whistle" tactics of right-wing firebrand Steve Bannon, US President Donald Trump's former top aide.

She wrote, "As a feminist, what really disgusts me in this whole episode is that Muslim women are simply political fodder, their lives a convenient battleground on which to stake out a leadership bid.

And some of the terms Boris used describing people's appearance obviously have offended", the prime minister said.

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There was no immediate sign that Johnson planned to back down.

And Munira Mirza, a former deputy mayor of London, said: "There is a political fight here". He resigned as foreign secretary in July, accusing May of killing "the Brexit dream" with her plan to seek close economic ties with the European Union after the United Kingdom leaves the bloc next year. Some suspected Johnson's burqa comments were meant to boost his appeal among right-wing members of the party.

"Any clothing a woman is forced to wear which hides both her beauty and her bruises should be banned and have no place in our liberal, progressive country", she said. "Boris knew the effect and the impact that this kind of dog-whistle politics would have".

Junior foreign minister Alistair Burt told the BBC: "I would never have made such a comment, I think there is a degree of offense in that, absolutely right".

'For this reason Britain must emulate France, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria and Denmark in banning the burka'.

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