Muslim women who wear burkas should be defended in the same way as Christians who wear a crucifix, a senior Conservative has said amid a growing Tory row over Boris Johnson’s comments on face veils.
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said debate over wearing burkas and crosses “is the same argument but in a different faith” and so they should both have the same “parameters”.
Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, said it was wrong to label face coverings “oppressive”, but the Conservatives were accused of losing touch with voters as a poll showed 60 per cent of Britons think burkas should be banned in public places.
A former deputy mayor of London who is of Pakistani descent said the Tory leadership was siding with “a minority fringe of Islamists” who label any criticism of Islamic practice as Islamophobia, while another prominent Muslim said the burka “deserves to be ridiculed”.
There were also accusations that the burka row is being used as a proxy for Remain-supporting MPs to attack Mr Johnson in an attempt to kill off his leadership ambitions, after arch Europhile Dominic Grieve said he would quit the Party if Mr Johnson ever became leader.
As the Muslim Tory peer Lord Sheikh called for “severe action” against Mr Johnson, Lord Pickles, the Remain-supporting former communities secretary, said the former foreign secretary had been given more “slack” than other Conservatives would be.