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U.K. party probes Tory's burqa digs

LONDON — Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is facing a Conservative Party investigation over a column comparing women who wear face-covering veils to mailboxes and bank robbers.

The party has received complaints that the comments breach its code of conduct, and under Conservative rules they must be investigated by an in- dependent panel. Possible pen- alties include expulsion from the party.

The party confirmed it had received complaints but de- clined to give details Thursday, saying that the process is con- fidential.

The Conservative code of conduct says members should “lead by example to encourage and foster respect and toler- ance.”

Johnson, who quit the gov- ernment last month in a dispute

over Britain’s departure from the European Union, wrote in the Daily Telegraph this week that it was “absolutely ridicu- lous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.” He said he opposed ban- ning burqas and other face-cov- ering garments worn by some Muslim women, but referred to a woman wearing the attire as “looking like a bank robber.”

Johnson’s comments were criticized by Muslim groups and politicians including Prime Minister Theresa May, who urged Johnson to apologize. He has not said sorry.

Critics claim Johnson is using the burqa comments to boost his appeal among right- wing members of the party. Many expect May to face a leadership challenge soon if faltering negotiations with the European Union don’t improve — and Johnson is likely to be a contender to replace her.

A Section on 08/10/2018

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