Boris Johnson is facing criticism after referring to women who wear burqas as “looking like letter boxes” in an article.
In a column for the Telegraph, he wrote: “It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes; and I thoroughly dislike any attempt by any – invariably male – government to encourage such demonstrations of ‘modesty’.”
He added that he would ask people visiting him in his constituency to remove face coverings, and also likened women who wear the full veil to “bank robbers”.
But Johnson said he was opposed to a blanket ban on face coverings such as the one that’s been adopted in Denmark.
The Muslim Council of Britain condemned his remarks. In a statement posted on Twitter, they said: “Boris Johnson rightly opposes the Danish ban on the niqab but denigrates the minority of women who choose to wear it.
“His comments are particularly regrettable in this current climate, where Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred is becoming worryingly pervasive with disappointingly little action from this current government…
“Mr Johnson’s comments come at a time when he reportedly met Donald Trump’s former right-hand man Steve Bannon…
“Mr Johnson’s comments also underscore the Muslim Council of Britain’s call for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.”
Mohammed Amin of the Conservative Muslim Forum said: Boris must be aware that the amount of space he devotes in his column to slagging off Muslim women who wear niqab and burqa is denigrating them, and will whip up anti-Muslim hate in this country."
David Lammy also strongly criticised Johnson’s comments and called him a “pound-shop Donald Trump” - a sentiment echoed by some other users.
Other Twitter users - including Mr Amin and Labour’s Stella Creasy - also referenced his meeting with Steve Bannon in their condemnation.
"Mr Johnson was having a meeting with Steve Bannon, a man who's openly talked about inspiring race wars," said Mr Amin. "This is not the kind of behaviour you expect from a former Foreign Secretary."
talkRADIO has contacted Johnson and the Conservative Party for comment.