Actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson defends Johnson in burqa row

Johnson will be probed by party for burqa comments - source

'Mr Bean' Actor Rowan Atkinson Backs Boris Johnson's Burqa Comments

Johnson asserted that schools should be entitled to tell students to remove a veil if one "turns up. looking like a bank robber".

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.

"Mr Bean" and "Blackadder" star Rowan Atkinson noted today that "all jokes about religion cause offence", and apologies were only required where the joke was not amusing.

Mr Johnson is to face an investigation by an independent panel after complaints that his comments breached the Conservative Party's code of conduct.

He added: "All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them".

'You should really only apologise for a bad joke. "On that basis, no apology is required".

The comedian wrote to The Times newspaper to say that all jokes about religion "cause offence", and he should not have to apologise.

"The burqa and niqab are ugly tribal ninja-like garments that are pre-Islamic, non-Koranic and therefore un-Muslim", he wrote in The Times.

In my opinion Boris Johnson is a cynical individual and may yet become the Prime Minister of this country - and that will be a new low for the UK.

"We are not bound by collective responsibility or that type of discipline and it is the wrong approach to party discipline".

Mr Mitchell told BBC Two's Newsnight: "I don't think he should apologise".

The women said that although their rights as "equal citizens" may be debated in society, the vile language used by Johnson has lasting consequences and is never acceptable.

Some of these classes were aimed at offering Muslim women a chance to learn self-defence and so I had a number of conversations with them on their experiences of being in public dressed as they do.

It was announced on Thursday that an independent investigation will take place into the comments made about the burqa by the former foreign secretary.

"This is quite an important issue about free speech and it's got nothing to do with the terrible events that take place over Enoch Powell and the Rivers of Blood speech".

Some Brexiteer MPs claimed the complaints were politically driven by those who disagree with Mr Johnson over the European Union, while others warned that pursuing him would tear the party apart.

"I just think that we have a huge problem with Labour's anti-Semitism so it's easy to find something on the other side they can use as a lever against problems they have got".

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