World Rowan Atkinson defends Johnson over burka 'joke'

23:32  10 august  2018
23:32  10 august  2018 Source:   news.sky.com

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Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson says Boris Johnson 's burka joke 'is a pretty good one' and all jokes about religion cause offence. Rowan Atkinson has defended Boris Johnson over his comments on women wearing burkas and said the former Foreign Secretary's remarks were funny.

Rowan Atkinson has defended Boris Johnson after his controversial comments about women wearing burkas . Atkinson wrote in a letter to The Times: “As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson ’s joke about wearers of the burka

A woman wearing a burka joins a protest near Boris Johnson's constituency office© PA A woman wearing a burka joins a protest near Boris Johnson's constituency office

Boris Johnson has been defended by comedian Rowan Atkinson following his recent comments about burkas.

The actor, best known for playing Mr Bean and Blackadder, described the remarks as funny.

The former foreign secretary has also won the support of ex-cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, who called the comments "colourful" but not against the law.

The Conservative Party have decided Mr Johnson should be investigated by an independent panel following complaints his comments breached the Tories' code of conduct.

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Rowan Atkinson has defended Boris Johnson after his controversial comments about women wearing burkas . Atkinson wrote in a letter to The Times: "As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson 's joke about wearers of the burka

Comedian Rowan Atkinson has defended Boris Johnson over his burka joke . "On that basis no apology is required." It came as a fresh YouGov poll for The Times showed the Tories had stretched a four point poll lead over Labour.

The Uxbridge MP compared women who wear the burka to "bank robbers" and questioned why they would "go around looking like letter boxes".

Boris Johnson and Rowan Atkinson© Getty Boris Johnson and Rowan Atkinson Atkinson wrote to The Times, saying: "As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson's joke about wearers of the burka resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one.

"All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them.

"You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required."

Mr Mitchell, who was chief whip in 2012 and international development secretary before that, told BBC Two's Newsnight: "I don't think he should apologise.

"But I think what's important is that the procedures of the party now take place.

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Image: Boris Johnson has been defended by Rowan Atkinson . :: Johnson 's burka remarks 'will encourage bigotry'. Atkinson wrote to The Times, saying: "As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do Tory peer: Remove whip from Boris Johnson over burka remarks.

'It's a pretty good joke ' Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson defends Boris in burka row. ANGER: Protests against Boris Johnson over his comments on the burka .

"This is quite an important issue about free speech and it's got nothing to do with the dreadful events that take place over Enoch Powell and the Rivers of Blood speech.

"Boris was speaking out against a ban of the type that's taken place in Denmark and some other countries."

Mr Johnson was reacting to news the first person had been fined for wearing a full-face veil in public in Denmark, and used his Daily Telegraph article to warn against a similar "heavy-handed" movement in the UK.

The row over his comments has split the Conservatives, with the prime minister and others calling on the ex-cabinet secretary to apologise and others demanding he should lose the whip.

While a Sky data poll found most people disagreed with Mr Johnson over whether burkas should be banned in public (59% were in favour of a ban), six in 10 said it was not racist to described burka wearers as looking like letter boxes.

Slightly more (48%) thought he should not apologise for the comment, than those who thought he should (45%).

Mr Johnson, who is holidaying abroad, has made no response to demands for an apology and sources who are close to him have made clear he stands by the article.

Protesters took part in a demonstration outside his constituency office on Thursday afternoon.

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