Boris Johnson told by Tory chair to apologise for burka comments

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Lewis tweeted that he agreed with Burt, adding that he had asked Johnson to apologise as a result.

David Lammy, a Labour MP, wrote on Twitter: "Muslim women are having their burkas pulled off by thugs in our streets & Boris Johnson's response is to mock them for 'looking like letter boxes.' Our pound-shop Donald Trump is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions".

In the article, Mr Johnson said full-face veils should not be banned but looked "ridiculous".

A source close to the former foreign secretary told Sky News it was ridiculous his views were being attacked.

Labour MP Jess Phillips said she would report Mr Johnson to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

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".

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"I do think that we all have to be very careful about the language and terms we use, and some of the terms Boris used describing people's appearance obviously have offended", she said.

He revealed on Tuesday he had asked Mr Johnson to apologise. He added that women wearing them looked like letterboxes or bank robbers.

"The party chairman, the Prime Minister has the right to take the whip ... that's the thing I'd like to see".

Johnson came out against calls for a ban on the face-covering veils in public places - but compared their wearers to rebellious teenagers.

She told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: "Some women choose to wear it, some women are conditioned to wear it, but it's certainly out of the question for me to tell a woman what to wear".

She said: "This idea the man should be run out of town is exactly the kind of authoritarian nonsense we must resist".

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In his Daily Telegraph column, Mr Johnson - who last month quit the government in protest at UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit policy - was commenting on the introduction of a burka ban in Denmark.

"If you cast your mind back 50 years to when Enoch Powell gave his Rivers of Blood speech, he was sacked from the shadow cabinet immediately", she told BBC Newsnight. It is "oppressive... to expect women to cover their faces", he says.

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

Baroness Warsi accused him of adopting "dog-whistle" tactics to attract right-wing Tory support for an eventual leadership bid.

Mr Mughal criticised the "sheer flippancy in which it was made".

Some suspected Mr Johnson's burka comments were meant to boost his appeal among right-wing members of the party.

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