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Johnson's refusal to apologise for racist comments 'legitimises prejudice'

BORIS JOHNSON refusing to apologise for his controversial comments will only help “legitimise” prejudice, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary Dawn Butler warned today.

In an interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge, Tory leadership contender Mr Johnson said his article describing black people as “picanninies” with “watermelon smiles” had been “satirical” and taken “out of context.”

He also did not apologise for insulting remarks about Muslim women and for describing gay men as “tank-topped bum boys.”

Ms Butler said: “At a time when racist and homophobic hate crime is rising in our society, his refusal to apologise for his disgusting remarks legitimises and fuels this prejudice.

“His words have dangerous consequences. After his comparison between Muslim women and ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letterboxes’ was directly linked to a rise in hate crime targeting Muslim women, there can be no doubt that his words put marginalised people in our country at risk.

“And his words today will embolden the Islamophobes who, according to new polling, make up nearly half of Conservative Party members.

“They have been given a free pass by Boris Johnson, breaking his promise to hold an independent inquiry into Tory Islamophobia.

“He is not fit to be prime minister of our country.”

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