Boris Johnson’s father defends son's niqab comments and says he 'should have gone further'

Stanley Johnson says former foreign secretary used 'colourful language' but was exercising free speech

Tom Barnes
Sunday 12 August 2018 08:42
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'Disgraceful individual from a moral and social standpoint': Boris Johnson faces anger in his own constituency

Boris Johnson’s father has defended controversial remarks his son made about Muslim women who wear the niqab, saying he would have liked him to “go further”.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Stanley Johnson said the former foreign secretary had been exercising his freedom of speech when he said women who wear a full-face veils look like “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.

He added his son had been “spot on” in his comments, which are now subject to an internal Tory investigation, adding he would have liked to see him call for a ban on the clothing in certain circumstances.

“Yes, Boris used some colourful language. That's called 'freedom of speech' or it was in my day,” he wrote.

“But he said what needed to be said. As a matter of fact, I would have liked him to have gone a bit further.

“He was against 'banning the burka'. But surely, there are circumstances where a ban or appropriate restrictions would be in order.

“Shouldn't female school-teachers, nurses or doctors be seen as well as heard? At least, the House of Commons could have a sensible debate on this issue.”

Mr Johnson Sr said support for his son's views was “near-universal” among people he had spoken to in Somerset.

“Why the all furore? Why has this disastrous 'blue-on-blue' warfare broken out?” he added.

“The Chairman of the Conservative Party is setting up a Committee of Enquiry into whether Boris's use of the word 'letter box' breaches party rules.

“If that isn't an own-goal, I don't know what is. Mr Corbyn must be rubbing his hands with glee.”

On Saturday, also writing in The Telegraph, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg denounced the investigation as a “show trial”, suggesting senior Conservative figures were “nervous” about a potential leadership bid from Mr Johnson.

However, Conservative Muslim Forum founder Lord Sheikh said he had received “vile” emails containing “obscene” language after speaking out over the remarks.

The Tory peer said he had been sent the abusive messages after calling for Mr Johnson to be kicked out of the party over the affair.

Additional reporting by PA

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