Mr Bean, an imam and a rabbi walk into Boris burqa furore

UK PM May urges Boris Johnson to apologise for burqa comments

In the comment piece, which argued against a blanket ban on burkas in the UK, Mr Johnson compared women who wore burkas to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers".

Mr Mitchell told BBC Two's Newsnight: "I don't think he should apologise".

'I don't believe just because somebody takes offence that means therefore there has to be an inquiry into whether or not the individual can be shut down in terms of their ability to say what they believe.

Johnson is facing an investigation panel after dozens of complaints that his comments breached the Conservative Party's code of conduct.

The Prime Minister, Tory chairman Brandon Lewis and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson have all urged Mr Johnson to apologise in the Burka row.

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson addresses a special session of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague, Netherlands June 26, 2018. "I fear an eruption of anger amongst our party's core voters and grassroots activities if this obsessive political correctness doesn't stop". Lord Sheikh, a Conservative Muslim peer, told the Guardian he had received about 50 hostile emails since he had spoken out about Johnson earlier this week and that he was considering referring five to the police.

The party confirmed it had received complaints but declined to give details on Thursday, saying that the process is confidential.

'He after all was defending the Government's position because we are not going to ban burkas, we believe in people having the right to choose'.

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

In a letter to The Times, he wrote: "You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required", he added. His Brexiteer credentials were bolstered when he resigned as foreign secretary in July, accusing May of killing "the Brexit dream" with her plan to seek close economic ties with the bloc after Brexit next year.

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