Poll: Most Brits Back Boris After Burqa Row, Say Free Speech Threatened

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A majority of Brits do not think Boris Johnson should be disciplined for mocking the Islamic burqa but do think free speech is under threat, a new survey reveals.

60 percent of people believe free speech is under threat in the United Kingdom, the ComRes poll for the Sunday Express found, after Mr Johnson was attacked for joking about the “ridiculous” garment.

It found 53 percent of people do not think Mr Johnson should be disciplined for saying women in the burqa look like letterboxes or bank robbers, and 60 percent say rights to free speech have been weakened.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen commented: “If Boris is suspended it will be open warfare in the Conservative Party.

“If Theresa May dares engineer a leadership contest while Boris is suspended it will be World War Three.”

The publication of the poll comes as Johnson’s father, Stanley, writes in the Sunday Telegraph that his son had not gone far enough with his comments on the burqa.

The 77-year old argued: “Yes, Boris used some colourful language. That’s called ‘freedom of speech’ or it was in my day.

“But he said what needed to be said. As a matter of fact, I would have liked him to have gone a bit further.

“He was against ‘banning the burka’. But surely, there are circumstances where a ban or appropriate restrictions would be in order.

“Shouldn’t female school-teachers, nurses or doctors be seen as well as heard? At least, the House of Commons could have a sensible debate on this issue.

He added: “In mocking the niqab, Boris is deemed to have mocked Islam. He did not. Like many other Muslim women, I am thankful that Boris said what he did.”

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