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Splits deepen over British ex-minister Johnson’s burqa feedback

THAME, England (Reuters) – Former British international minister Boris Johnson returned from his summer season holiday to face each criticism and help over his remarks about burqas, amid deepening divisions in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson walks to Downing Street in London, June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Johnson, seen as the largest menace to Prime Minister Theresa May’s struggling management, has grow to be a lightning rod for discontent inside the social gathering after a newspaper column by which he mentioned Muslim ladies who put on burqas seem like letter packing containers or financial institution robbers.

The feedback got here in a Aug. 5 piece arguing towards a ban on the Islamic full-face veil, however have been criticised as Islamophobic. Others noticed the remarks as vibrant rhetoric that strikes a chord with many Britons.

May has scolded Johnson, stirring anger amongst these of his supporters who see him as the point of interest for resistance to her proposed “business-friendly” Brexit plan. The social gathering has additionally launched an investigation into his remarks.

Under the headline “Boris sparks cabinet war” the Sunday Times mentioned 4 unnamed senior ministers had been dismayed at May’s dealing with of the scenario.

“They have managed to engineer a total disaster,” one minister was quoted as saying. “Trying to silence Boris is stupid, especially when the majority of people agree with him.”

Johnson spent Sunday at his residence within the small city of Thame, round 80 km (50 miles) northwest of London, rising solely to carry cups of tea to reporters. Asked whether or not he regretted his feedback, he declined to remark.

Johnson resigned from the cupboard final month in protest at May’s Brexit plan, setting himself up as a talisman for the numerous Conservatives who need a extra radical departure from the European Union.

Meanwhile, May has struggled to carry her cupboard collectively on Brexit and faces a testing few months by which she hopes to safe a deal on leaving the EU, face the social gathering’s sad grassroots, and win an important vote in parliament.

Johnson’s burqa remarks had been defended by, amongst others, Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon, who advised the Sunday Times that his general message had been lost due to a “throwaway line”.

Bannon has beforehand known as on Johnson to problem May’s management.

But a Conservative member of the higher home of parliament and former government polling adviser, Andrew Cooper, accused Johnson of “moral emptiness” and populism over the remarks.

“The rottenness of Boris Johnson goes deeper even than his casual racism & his equally casual courting of fascism. He will advocate literally anything to play to the crowd of the moment,” Cooper mentioned on Twitter.

Johnson, who has made clear that he doesn’t intend to apologise over his burqa feedback, didn’t handle the row in his newest column which was revealed late on Sunday night.

Instead he centered on housing coverage, saying stamp responsibility land tax, a tax which is utilized to property purchases, was “absurdly high” and was stalling the property market. He additionally criticised builders for delivering poorly constructed properties and hoarding land.

Reporting by Peter Nicholls in Thame and William James in London; Editing by Giles Elgood

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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