British Lawmaker Tanmanjeet Dhesi Blasts PM Johnson For "Racist" Remarks

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced an impassioned attack from Sikh Labour lawmaker Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi over a 2018 newspaper article the premier wrote in which he compared Muslim women wearing burqas covering their faces and bodies to letterboxes and bank-robbers.

"Mr Speaker, if I decide to wear a turban or you decide to wear a cross, or he decides to wear a kippah or a skullcap, or she decides to wear a hijab or a burqa, does that mean that it is open season for Right Honourable Members of this House to make derogatory and divisive remarks about our appearance?"

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson kicked off his first questions in parliament by goading opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for not backing a new general election.

"When will the prime minister finally apologize for his derogatory and racist remarks" Dhesi said as lawmakers clapped and cheered around him.

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Mr Dhesi asked the Prime Minister when he would say sorry for his "shameful comments", and when he will order an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. The article triggered widespread condemnation in Britain, where there has been a spike in hate crimes against Muslims.

According to a report from Tell MAMA - a United Kingdom group that monitors incidents of Islamaphobia - anti-Muslim incidents increased in the week following Mr Johnson's comments.

Corbyn has also repeatedly said he wants an election to ditch Johnson's "phoney, populist cabal" but first seeks to see a move to stop the prime minister from leading Britain out of the European Union without a deal embedded in legislation.

In response to the question, Mr Johnson defended his party as having the "most diverse cabinet in the history of this country" and turned the table on Labour, who he said should apologise for anti-semitism within their party. "We truly reflect modern Britain", the Prime Minister was quoted as saying by PTI.

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