Boris Johnson under mounting pressure to apologize for controversial burqa comments

Boris Johnson under mounting pressure to apologize for controversial burqa comments

Seen as a way to burnish his credentials for a future leadership contest in a climate of right-wing headwinds in Europe, Johnson set forth his views on the recent burka ban in Denmark in his column in The Daily Telegraph.

May said his remarks "have clearly caused offense" and agreed with the chairman of her Conservative party, Brandon Lewis, who had asked Johnson to apologize.

Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary in July, accusing Theresa 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.

"What's important is do we believe people should have the right to practice their religion and, in the case of women and the burqa and niqab, to choose how they dress".

Sayeeda Warsi, Johnson's colleague in the Conservative Party, and a member of the House of Lords, accused him of making "hate crime more likely" with an indefensible "dog-whistle" reference to fully veiled Muslim women. If a woman wants to wear a burqa it is her right to do so.

Strong quake again hits Indonesia's Lombok island
Workers with heavy machinery are searching the rubble of homes, schools and mosques, with hope of finding any survivors fading. A man inspects the ruins of houses at a village affected by Sunday's natural disaster in Kayangan, Lombok Island, Indonesia .

They said: "We must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on hard subjects".

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".

"We have to call it out".

Sajjad Karim, the party's representative for North-West England, said Johnson's controversial comments had pushed the boundaries of acceptable political debate and as a result the party had to decide what future it wanted to embrace.

A string of other Conservatives have queued up to criticise Johnson, with Theresa May saying he used the wrong language and Lord Sheikh calling for the whip to be withdrawn.

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