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Back off Boris — anti-racists to protest outside MP's office

ANTI-RACIST demonstrators will protest outside Boris Johnson’s constituency office tomorrow  in response to his inflammatory comments about women who wear the burka.

The Back Off, Boris demo, organised by Stand Up to Racism, is set to start at 6pm outside the Uxbridge & South Ruislip Conservatives office.

Demonstrators are calling for his party to suspend the Tory former foreign secretary pending an investigation into his comments and are supporting calls for an urgent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

Stand Up to Racism co-convener Weyman Bennett told the Star that Mr Johnson’s attack on women was “disgraceful,” with his Daily Telegraph article ticking all the boxes of Islamophobia, sexism and racism.

Mr Bennett warned that the MP’s attempt to mimic the politics of US President Donald Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon could drag Britain back to the “dark days of the 1970s” when violence was incited by the far right.

In his article Mr Johnson likened women wearing the burka to bank-robbers and letterboxes. He wrote that he would ask Muslim women from his constituency to remove the face-covering garments so that he could “talk to [them] properly.”

Campaign group Hope Not Hate is calling on the Conservative Party to withdraw the whip from Mr Johnson, now a backbencher after quitting the government over Ms May’s Brexit plans.

Chief executive Nick Lowles said: “Boris Johnson is making his case to be Britain’s Donald Trump. This time he’s using his national newspaper column to openly mock Muslim women in an unprovoked attack.

“The man can’t help himself. He’s an attention seeker with racist and sexist points of view and enough is enough. This kind of behaviour from anyone, let alone a prominent elected official, is intolerable.

“This is who Boris is. He’s shown us time and again that he has deeply held racist views, from his time as a journalist when he mocked African children right through to his race-based attack on Barack Obama during the Brexit referendum.

“When the media say: “It’s Boris being Boris,” they’re playing right into his hands, providing an excuse for his unacceptable actions.

“Time is up on the Boris Johnson ‘act.’ We’ve had enough of his loud-mouthed, unashamed racism. It’s time for the Tories to suspend Boris from the Tory whip.”

Mr Johnson has intimated that he has no intention of apologising for his comments, though the pressure on him to do so by fellow Tories as well as anti-racism campaigners is growing.

Shadow women & equalities minister Naz Shah tweeted that she has written to Tory chairman Brandon Lewis and Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt to ask what action will be taken against Mr Johnson’s “ugly and naked Islamophobia.”

The Bradford West Labour MP said: “When Muslim women are being attacked in the street, his comments are dangerous and cannot be laughed off.”

Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, the Tories’ most senior Muslim woman, has accused Mr Johnson of adopting the tactic of dog-whistle politics to gather support from right-wing Tories for an eventual leadership bid.

She also said that Mr Johnson’s comments will make “hate crime more likely.”

Conservative Muslim Forum president Lord Sheikh said that he wrote to Mr Lewis on Tuesday, calling for “severe action” to be taken against Mr Johnson, while former attorney general Dominic Grieve described Mr Johnson’s comments as “very embarrassing,” telling the BBC that he would quit the party should Mr Johnson ever become leader.

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