Theresa May refuses to condemn Boris Johnson for comparing Muslim women in burqas to 'letter boxes' and 'bank robbers'

Theresa May refuses to condemn Boris Johnson for comparing Muslim women in burqas to 'letter boxes' and 'bank robbers'

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, listens during a visit to a Metropolitan Police wildlife crime unit in London, Britain, February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

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Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, listens during a visit to a Metropolitan Police wildlife crime unit in London

  • Theresa May refuses to condemn Boris Johnson after the former foreign secretary compared Muslim women who wear the burqa to "letter boxes" and "bank robbers."
  • Johnson wrote in a newspaper column: "It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes."
  • A spokesperson for Prime Minister May refused to condemn Johnson's actions, and would only add: "We do not support a ban."
  • Labour MP David Lammy called Johnson a "pound-shop [Donald] Trump."


LONDON - Theresa May has refused to condemn Boris Johnson after he suggested that Muslim women who wear the burqa resemble "letter boxes" and "look like a bank robber" in a newspaper column.

The former foreign secretary said on Monday that the face-covering garment was "oppressive" and added: "It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes."
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He added in the Telegraph column that any female student who appeared at school or in a lecture "looking like a bank robber" should be asked to remove it, but stopped short of calling for a full ban.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister May refused to condemn Johnson's actions, and would only add: "We do not support a ban."

Labour MP David Lammy described Johnson's actions to those of a "pound-shop [Donald] Trump."
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"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,'" the Labour MP said on Monday.

"Our pound-shop Donald Trump is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions."Johnson has a history of making inflammatory remarks and gaffes.
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For example, he has described black people from Commonwealth countries as "flag-waving piccaninnies" with "watermelon smiles" and gay people as "tank-topped bum boys," and was forced to apologise after speaking about alcohol in a Sikh temple.

The former foreign secretary's comments will be interpreted as part of a pitch to Conservative grassroots members for a potential Tory leadership contest as May's popularity continues to plummet.

Johnson resigned in July in protest at May's Brexit proposals and has positioned himself as an advocate for a harder form of Brexit.
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He is also considering making a "significant intervention" into the Brexit debate in September ahead of the Conservative Party conference, according to a Sunday Times report.

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