Britain in a frenzy over Boris Johnson’s burqa comments

Actor Rowan Atkinson is among others who have jumped to Boris Johnson's defence

Actor Rowan Atkinson is among others who have jumped to Boris Johnson’s defence

He explained there was a complaints procedure within the Conservative Party and that the Party had a mechanism for dealing with these issues.

"I think it's a very dark day for our democracy and free speech and I'm deeply anxious that this policy is being adopted by the Conservative Party, if we're not the party of free speech, then who is?"

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) said it was "unacceptable" that he signed a contract with the Daily Telegraph on July 12 - three days after quitting as foreign secretary - but did not ask for its advice on the propriety of the move until 14 days later, by which time his appointment was public knowledge.

Mr Johnson is to face an investigation by an independent panel after complaints that his comments breached the Conservative Party's code of conduct.

Johnson asserted that schools should be entitled to tell students to remove a veil if one "turns up. looking like a bank robber".

Senior figures such as Chairman Lewis and Prime Minister Theresa May have called on Johnson to apologize, and Muslim advocacy groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain have called for more action to be taken against Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

That provoked a backlash from the party's right, with many MPs repeating similar arguments.

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, has said he's "deeply worried" about the state of free speech in the light of the independent inquiry. "I fear an eruption of anger amongst our party's core voters and grassroots activities if this obsessive political correctness doesn't stop".

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A spokesman said only: "The code of conduct process is strictly confidential".

"I also know that many other people believe strongly that in the whole of the article, what Mr Johnson appears to have been attempting to do was to say that there shouldn't be a ban and that he was engaging in a legitimate debate", she said.

He added: "All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them".

"Is he the person to take us into an election and win against odds at the moment?"

The controversy over Boris Johnson's opinions on burkas rolls on as the Conservative MP refuses to apologise and gains support from unlikely sources.

British actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson, best known around the world for his role as Mr Bean, has defended former foreign secretary Boris Johnson over comments he made about the burqa.

"You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required", he wrote, in a letter to the Times.

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