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Boris Johnson burka row: Tory hides in luxury Italian villa after party begins probe 'inflammatory' comments

Mirror logo Mirror 6 days ago Andrew Gregory
a man in a white shirt: Vile Boris Johnson has swapped his old taxpayer-funded home in London for an Italian villa where he remains after making an Islamophobic remark © Daily Mirror Vile Boris Johnson has swapped his old taxpayer-funded home in London for an Italian villa where he remains after making an Islamophobic remark

Boris Johnson is holed up in a luxury villa in Italy as he arrogantly continues to refuse to apologise for offending Muslims.

As the explosive race row over his “racist” and “gratuitously offensive” remarks grew on Friday, the former Foreign Secretary was sunning himself in a secret hideaway.

He is now the subject of an official investigation by his own party.

Dozens of complaints to the Tory Party are being looked at but stubborn Mr Johnson has refused to back down and apologise.

a person posing for the camera © Credits: Birmingham Mail

The scandal deepened on Friday when Britain’s equalities watchdog said his remarks were “inflammatory and divisive”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said his comments risked “vilifying Muslim women”.

The Commission confirmed it had received a complaint from a member of the public about Mr Johnson.

Chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “The effectiveness of our democratic society depends on freedom of expression, and the expression of offensive and intolerant opinions is generally not unlawful.

Watch: Boris Johnson 'did not commit a criminal offence'


“Boris Johnson’s use of language in this instance, which risks dehumanising and vilifying Muslim women, is inflammatory and divisive.

“Political figures should lead by example, conducting debates in a responsible manner, and language such as this can inhibit legitimate dialogue.”

It also emerged that after being told via a telephone call from London on Thursday of the probe which could see him booted out of the Tory party, smug Mr Johnson remained “relaxed” and dived into the pool at his villa.

a person holding a sign © Credits: Christopher Furlong

As the scandal continued to dominate the political agenda, a Tory Muslim peer who criticised Mr Johnson for saying Muslim women wearing burkas look like letter boxes revealed he has been subjected to abusive emails and calls.

Conservative Muslim Forum founder Lord Sheikh said he received “vile” Islamophobic messages after calling for Mr Johnson to be sacked.

Lord Sheikh wants Mr Johnson should be kicked out of the party for his remarks.

He said that in his view Mr Johnson had “let the genie out of the bottle” by inflaming tensions with his comments.

a man wearing a suit and tie: One source told us the Tories have been known to receive "dozens of complaints about Boris on a normal day" © REUTERS One source told us the Tories have been known to receive "dozens of complaints about Boris on a normal day"

Out of 75 emails he had since received about the issue, 15 were complimentary while the rest included “offensive language” and “horrible things, obscene things, about the Prophet Muhammad”, Lord Sheikh said.

Meanwhile, multimillionaire comic Rowan Atkinson - who played Mr Bean and whose brother Rodney once ran to be leader of UKIP - sparked outrage after he claimed Mr Johnson’s letter box remark was a “pretty good” joke.

The row has also plunged the Tory party into a civil war, with some claiming those at the top of the party are trying to use the row to kill off Mr Johnson’s leadership chances.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: “My general view is I don’t think that an internal party system should be there to shut down MPs when they speak.”

In Pictures: Boris Johnson's worst diplomatic gaffes (Provided by Deutsche Welle)

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: In May 2018, Russian pranksters managed to hold an 18-minute long phone call with Johnson by pretending to be Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. During the call, Johnson said the UK would continue to squeeze the Russian regime by targeting London-based oligarchs. The pranksters also brought up the poisoning of Skripals in Salisbury, though Johnson mostly struck to his public pronouncements. Boris Johnson's worst diplomatic gaffes

Theresa May, Tory chair Brandon Lewis and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson have all urged Mr Johnson to apologise.

The complaints to the Tory party against Mr Johnson are being looked at by an internal party team, which will decide whether any should be examined by an independent panel.

Ultimately, complaints can end up with the party’s board, which has powers that include suspension or booting Mr Johnson out of the party.

A source close to Mr Johnson declined to comment on the investigation.

A Tory spokesman said: “The code of conduct process is strictly confidential.”


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