Boris Johnson to face independent investigation over burqa comments

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is to face an investigation by an independent panel following complaints that his comments about the burqa breached the Tory Party’s code of conduct.

Johnson will face an inquiry after the Conservative party received a number of complaints over his comments comparing burqas to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers".

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "The code of conduct process is strictly confidential."

This follows the news that Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick said that while many have found the remarks offensive, officers assess that Mr Johnson did not commit an offence.

She also confirmed that police have not received any criminal complaint against the former foreign secretary.

On Thursday Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ms Dick acknowledged that many people have found the comments offensive.

She said: "I also know that many other people believe strongly that in the whole of the article, what Mr Johnson appears to have been attempting to do was to say that there shouldn't be a ban and that he was engaging in a legitimate debate."

Asked what she made of the language used by the ex-cabinet minister, Ms Dick told the BBC Asian Network: "Some people have clearly found it offensive.

"I spoke last night to my very experienced officers who deal with hate crime and, although we have not yet received any allegation of such a crime, I can tell you that my preliminary view having spoken to them is that what Mr Johnson said would not reach the bar for a criminal offence. He did not commit a criminal offence."

Pressed further on Mr Johnson's choice of language given recent spikes in hate crime, the Commissioner said: "I think everybody in public life has to think about the impact of what they say.

"I also think that I am proud to police in a liberal democracy in which people have the right to express their opinions.

"What Mr Johnson said, if it is not criminal, is a matter for Mr Johnson and his friends and colleagues and indeed for the Conservative Party."