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UK News

Boris Johnson's burka comments divide Anglican clergy

One London priest said any clothing used to hide the face in public were "unacceptable", while a vicar from Manchester said he would "go to the stake" in support of the right of women to wear a face-covering veil.

While saying he would not support the UK following Denmark by implementing a ban on the burka and niqab, the former foreign secretary compared Muslim women wearing them to bank robbers or letter-boxes.

Fr David Ackerman from St John the Evangelist in Kensal Green suggested Mr Johnson's line on face-covering veils was not strong enough.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "Covering one's face in public should be outlawed.

"The implications of this extend from demonstrators who wear masks to those who choose to wear a certain form of cultural dress (which, incidentally, has no religious mandate)".

Mr Johnson's comments angered several senior Conservative figures, including the Prime Minister who said he ought to apologise.


Meanwhile, Rev Geoffrey Howard from Radcliffe in Greater Manchester said he applauded Boris Johnson, writing in The Telegraph: "People can poke fun at death, sex, politicians, the clergy, royalty and even the Christian God.

"Nothing is beyond humour.

"Since when has causing offence been an inhibitor to our nation's sense of humour?

"I would go to the stake in support of a woman's right to wear the niqab - but tie me to the same stake for the right to poke gentle fun at the women who wear the niqab..."


Mr Johnson has found himself the subject of a Conservative Party investigation following a number of complaints about his comments.

A panel has the power to suspend or even expel Mr Johnson from the Tories. It may dismiss the complaints.

Christian and fellow Conservative, Jacob Rees-Mogg described the investigation as a "show trial", writing in The Telegraph on Saturday that Boris Johnson's critics were jealous of his popularity.

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