Tories under pressure over disciplinary action against Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

The Conservative party is coming under intense pressure to decide whether to take disciplinary action against Boris Johnson following his continued refusal to apologise for his controversial descriptions of fully veiled Muslim women.

A complaint about Johnson has been lodged with Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis, who is responsible for the party’s code of conduct which says that Tory MPs and other holders of public office should “foster respect and tolerance” in their work.

Lewis has to decide whether to launch disciplinary proceedings following a day of intense criticism of Johnson, largely from the liberal wing of the party, after he used a column in the Telegraph to compare fully veiled women to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

MP Dominic Grieve said the former foreign secretary was “not a fit and proper person” to lead the party and said he would quit the Tories if Johnson was elected leader. Writing in the Guardian, Baroness Warsi said his language had made “hate crime more likely”.

The party’s code of conduct says that MPs and other holders of public office should “not use their position to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others”. It promises that complaints will be investigated “in a timely and confidential manner”.

Lord Sheikh, founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum, set up to encourage British Muslims to get involved in political life, told the Guardian that he had written to Lewis demanding that “serious action” be taken against the former foreign secretary and was awaiting a reply. “I think he should look at the impact of what Boris has said, because it will inflame Islamophobic behaviour.”

The peer added that he had received 30 abusive emails, eight of which were particularly “vile, absolutely horrible”, after he had first raised concerns about Johnson on BBC’s Newsnight on Tuesday and called on the party to withdraw the whip.

Lewis refused to respond to questions from reporters on Wednesday on how he would deal with the Johnson row. Lewis had personally asked him on Tuesday…

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