Labour MP Given Round Of Applause By MPs For Skewering PM Over His Burqa Comments

4 September 2019, 13:29 | Updated: 4 September 2019, 13:41

A Labour MP received a rare round of applause in Prime Minister's Questions for demanding an apology from the Prime Minister for his comments on women wearing burqas.

In a Daily Telegraph column, Boris Johnson likened the Muslim garments to letterboxes or bank robbers.

Standing up during PMQs, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was very passionate as he said the Prime Minister's comments were responsible for a rise in hate crime.

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi made his powerful point in parliament
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi made his powerful point in parliament. Picture: House of Commons

The Labour MP for Slough said: "If I decide to wear a turban, or you decide to wear a cross, or he decides to wear a kippah or a skull cap, or she decides to wear a hijab or a burqa, does that mean it is open season for honourable members of this house to make derogatory and divisive remarks about our appearance?

"For those of us who, from a young age have had to endure and had to face up to being called names such as "towel head" or "Taliban" or coming from "Bongo Bongo land", we can appreciate full well the hurt and pain felt by already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers and letterboxes.

"Rather than hide behind sham and whitewash investigations, when will the Prime Minister finally apologise for his derogatory and racist remarks which have lead to a spike in hate crime."

What followed was a very rare round of applause - something not usually allowed in the chamber.

Afterwards, Mr Singh Dhesi gave his first broadcast interview to Shelagh Fogarty about his powerful intervention.

Speaking on LBC, he said: "In terms of Islamophobia, the Prime Minister needs to be held to a higher standard. He needs to be held accountable. He has still not apologised, even after my question.

"It was such a poor response from the Prime Minister. Words do have consequences. When he uses such loaded terms, that leads to a spike in hate crime. He knew full well what his intention was."

Shelagh asked him if he felt the article was racist and he responded: "It was. If we juxtapose his verbose eloquence when he was Mayor of London in terms of multiculturalism and diversity, now he was become so right-wing to chase the increasing ageing and right-wing membership of the Conservative Party. He has changed tack.

"This is why so many people refer to him as a liar, as a charlatan and he needs to be called out on that."

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