Johnson apologises for any Islamophobia in Conservative Party
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.
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