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Warsi said Johnson was hoping to attract support from right-wing Conservatives for an eventual leadership bid, and called for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party.

Star anchor Kay Burley compared being uncomfortable with the burqa to being "offended" by the burned face of Falklands War hero Simon Weston, and another presenter observed that "unfortunately" many people agreed with the former foreign secretary while interviewing a Muslim politician. If a woman wants to wear a burqa, it's her right Mr. Boris Johnson.

Karim said that, as a result, "the Conservative party today has to decide whether it will be a genuine one nation political force or an English nationalist movement".

His comments come after Johnson has faced multiple calls to apologise after a column in the Daily Telegraph where he likened women who wear burqas to "letter boxes" and bank robbers.

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However, Taj Hargey, Imam at Oxford Islamic Congregation, said Mr Johnson "should not apologise for telling the truth", adding that his comments did not go far enough. "He should not have used it", May said.

Junior foreign minister Alistair Burt told the BBC: "I would never have made such a comment, I think there is a degree of offense in that, absolutely right". "What starts as useful targets for "colourful political language" and the odd bit of toxic campaigning ends up in attacks on our streets".

She said: "I know that many people have found this offensive".

"I spoke last night to my very experienced officers who deal with hate crime and, although we have not yet received any allegation of such a crime, I can tell you that my preliminary view having spoken to them is that what Mr Johnson said would not reach the bar for a criminal offence".


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