02:40PM, Wednesday 04 September 2019
Slough MP Tan Dhesi has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apologise for ‘derogatory and racist remarks’ made against burqa-wearing Muslim women.
Mr Johnson wrote in a national newspaper column last year that it was ‘absolutely ridiculous people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes’.
His remarks faced criticism, with campaign group Tell MAMA claiming the comments led to a spike in anti-Muslim incidents, with 38 reports made the following week.
Slough’s Labour MP received applause from his colleagues as he called on Mr Johnson to apologise during Prime Minister’s Questions today.
If you have ever experienced racism or discrimination, you can appreciate full well the hurt and pain felt by Muslim women, who were singled out by this divisive Prime Minister. It’s high time he apologised for his derogatory and racist remarks! 1/2 pic.twitter.com/t6G56coA3U— Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (@TanDhesi) September 4, 2019
Mr Dhesi told the House of Commons: “For those of us who from a young age have had to endure and face up to being called names such as ‘towel head’, or ‘Taliban’ or ‘coming from ‘bongo bongo land’ we can appreciate full well the hurt and pain felt by already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers and letter boxes.
“Rather than hide behind sham and whitewash investigations when will the Prime Minister finally apologise for his derogatory and racist remarks which have led to a spike in hate crime?”
He also asked the Prime Minister when he planned on launching an inquiry into alleged Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.
The Prime Minister responded by saying his comments were a ‘strong liberal defence’ of everyone’s right to wear what they want in the UK.
He said: “I’m proud to say that under this Government we have the most diverse cabinet in the history of this country and we truly reflect modern Britain and Mr Speaker, what we have yet to hear from any of the Labour Party is any hint of apology for the virus of anti-Semitism which is now rampant in their ranks.”
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