Burqa Comments Not Racist, Garb Should Be Banned

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The Conservative party has to decide between being a "genuine one nation force" or "an English nationalist movement" in the light of Boris Johnson's comments about fully veiled women, according to one of the party's Muslim MEPs.

On Sunday, British former foreign secretary Boris Johnson remarked that Muslim women wearing the burka "look like letter boxes" and compared them to "bank robbers".

"Yet another privileged middle-aged bloke telling women what they can and can't wear".

Among criticisms from Muslim groups, Johnson has also received words from fellow politicians including former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Theresa May, Brandon Lewis and Ruth Davidson.

Baroness Warsi repeated her calls for an investigation into Islamophobia within the Conservative party in a piece in the Guardian, and noted there had been a 26% rise in hate crimes against Muslims past year, according to figures from monitoring group Tell Mama.

A source close to Johnson said, "We must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on hard issues".

Johnson said he opposed banning burqas and other face-covering garments, but wrote that it was "absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes".

"We have to call it out. I will defend the basic principle which is the right to choose", added the Janaan actor.

"I do think that we all have to be very careful about the language and terms we use".

Sky customers were, oddly, more split on the question of whether Johnson should say sorry for his comments, but a plurality were of the view that no apology was due - 48 percent to 45 percent. The clothing has already been banned in France.