John­son apol­o­gises for any Is­lam­o­pho­bia in Con­ser­va­tive Party

The National - News - - NEWS | WORLD - JAMIE PRENTIS Lon­don

UK Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son has said sorry for “hurt and of­fence” caused by in­ci­dents of Is­lam­o­pho­bia in the Con­ser­va­tive Party. Mean­while, Jeremy Cor­byn, the Labour leader, on Wed­nes­day ob­jected to calls for that he apol­o­gise for anti-Semitism in his party ranks.

The leader of the UK’s Jewish community had said on Tues­day that a “poi­son” that was sanc­tioned from the party lead­er­ship had been al­lowed to fes­ter.

Mr John­son and Mr Cor­byn are on the cam­paign trail ahead of a De­cem­ber 12 gen­eral elec­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously, when­ever we have an in­ci­dent of anti-Semitism or Is­lam­o­pho­bia or what­ever in the Con­ser­va­tive Party, we take a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach,” Mr John­son said.

He pledged to hold an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into “ev­ery man­ner of prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion” in the party be­fore De­cem­ber 25.

The Con­ser­va­tives sus­pended a can­di­date in the Scot­tish city of Glas­gow, Flora Scara­bello, over claims that she used anti-Mus­lim lan­guage.

“We take al­le­ga­tions like this ex­tremely se­ri­ously,” the party said. “There is no place in the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives for anti-Mus­lim lan­guage, or any other form of racial or re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

Asked if he would say sorry over cases of anti-Mus­lim behaviour in the Con­ser­va­tives, Mr John­son said: “Of course, and for all the hurt and of­fence that has been caused, of course we do.

“All that is in­tol­er­a­ble and it’s so im­por­tant as a coun­try that we don’t al­low that kind of thing, and that’s why we’re go­ing to have the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry.”

But he failed to clear up his own con­tro­ver­sial com­ments. In one in­stance, Mr John­son com­pared women wear­ing the burqa to “let­ter boxes” and bank rob­bers.

On Tues­day night Mr Cor­byn re­fused to ex­plic­itly apol­o­gise over al­le­ga­tions that he failed to stop anti-Jewish hatred in Labour.

“What I’ll say is this: I am de­ter­mined that our so­ci­ety is safe for peo­ple of all faiths,” he told the BBC.

“I don’t want any­one to be feel­ing in­se­cure in our so­ci­ety and our gov­ern­ment will pro­tect ev­ery community against the abuse they re­ceive on the streets, on the trains, or in any other form of life.

“I want to work with ev­ery community, to make sure it’s elim­i­nated. That is what my whole life has been about.”

A hand­ful of MPs have de­fected from Labour over Mr Cor­byn’s lead­er­ship with the anti-Semitism al­le­ga­tions given as a ma­jor rea­son.

He has also been crit­i­cised for as­so­ci­at­ing with con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures crit­i­cal of Is­rael, and for show­ing sym­pa­thy to­wards the pro­scribed ter­ror or­gan­i­sa­tions Ha­mas and Hezbol­lah.

On Mon­day, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said Mr Cor­byn was un­fit for high of­fice. He re­ceived some sup­port from the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, Justin Welby.

EPA

Labour Party leader Jeremy Cor­byn holds redacted doc­u­ments of secret talks be­tween the UK and US gov­ern­ments dur­ing a speech on the NHS in Lon­don yes­ter­day

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