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School of Politics and International Relations

Professor Tim Bale, Boris Johnson refuses to apologise for burka ‘letter box’ remark


Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, has refused to apologise for suggesting Muslim women wearing burkas “look like letter boxes”. Tim Bale, Politics Professor at Queen Mary, said Mr Johnson’s remarks were intended to appeal to the grassroots of the party: “He knows the key to his appeal to Tory supporters is his continued newsworthiness. So anything that gets him attention goes. The terms ‘responsibility’ and ‘good judgment’ aren’t in his vocabulary. What counts is whatever keeps him in the headlines. And that’s because staying in the news — especially if it involves spouting the kind of politically incorrect stuff that appeals to sections of the Tory grassroots — keeps him in the contest to be their next leader.”
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