British Prime Minister Theresa May and other senior Conservatives told former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to say sorry Tuesday for a newspaper column in which he wrote that burqa-wearing women looked like "letter boxes" and bank robbers. It was the wrong language to use. "And some of the terms Boris used describing people's appearance obviously have offended", the prime minister said.
"If a woman wants to wear a short dress, it is her right and freedom to do so".
But the former top diplomat, who has a reputation for causing controversy and quit May's cabinet last month in protest at her Brexit plan, refused to back down.
A source close to Johnson said, "We must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on hard issues".More news: Coroner States That Margot Kidder's Death Was An Intentional Overdose
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Karim said that "Boris is playing to the gallery that exists at the right of the party" and by refusing to apologise was "positioning himself as the great defender of the right some believe they have to say whatever they like with no regard of consequences for others". "If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists".
In an interview with Daily Telegraph, Johnson said full-face veils should not be banned in Denmark but mentioned he found it "absolutely ridiculous" that women choose to "go around looking like letter boxes".
"Johnson did not go far enough".
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.