London British actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson, best known around the world for his role as Mr Bean, has defended former United Kingdom foreign secretary Boris Johnson over comments he made about the burqa.
Mr Johnson is facing investigation by an independent panel following complaints that his comments on the burka breached the Conservative Party's code of conduct.
They say Johnson's words will "inflame tensions in a way that makes it easier for bigots to justify hate crimes against us". He is instead more likely to be told.
In a letter to The Times, he wrote: "You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required", he added.
It was in his weekly Telegraph column that Mr Johnson made comments which sparked demands for an apology from a host of figures from all sides of politics, including Theresa May, Tory chairman Brandon Lewis and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.More news: Thibaut Courtois missed Chelsea training through stress, says agent
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The party's code states that elected representatives must "lead by example to encourage and foster respect and tolerance" and not "use their position to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others".
'Full bandwagon jumping territory'Conor Burns, Tory MP for Bournemouth West'It's bash Boris'Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire " This [inquiry is] being use to try and discredit Boris Johnson from people who are anxious about him in inside the Conservative party and outside the Conservative party.
"I fear an eruption of anger amongst our party's core voters and grassroots activities if this obsessive political correctness doesn't stop".
But Atkinson, in a letter to The Times, said the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip had just been telling a joke.
"The burka and niqab are disgusting tribal ninja-like garments that are pre-Islamic, non-Koranic and therefore un-Muslim". "But I think what's important is that the procedures of the party now take place", Mr Mitchell told BBC's Newsnight.
It was announced on Thursday that an independent investigation will take place into the comments made about the burqa by the former foreign secretary. "Nevertheless we do so because we believe it is a means to get closer to God", the women said in a letter.