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Stanley Johnson criticised for comments on female fighter pilots and burkas

The Prime Minister’s father appeared on Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night programme.

Stanley Johnson has been accused of ‘talking complete rubbish’ by saying female fighter pilots should not wear burkas (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Stanley Johnson has been accused of ‘talking complete rubbish’ by saying female fighter pilots should not wear burkas (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Keiran Southern, PA

Stanley Johnson has been accused of “talking complete rubbish” for suggesting female fighter pilots should not wear burkas.

The 79-year-old father of Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared on Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night programme on a panel also including comedian Nish Kumar and TV judge Robert Rinder.

During the show Johnson, whose son is expected to command a significant Commons majority following Thursday’s vote, discussed the burka.

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Stanley Johnson, father of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been criticised for comments about women wearing burkas (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Prime Minister has previously attracted criticism for comparing veiled Muslim women to letter boxes and bank robbers.

Speaking on Channel 4, the senior Johnson said: “If I was a female fighter jet pilot, I would expect someone to say ‘don’t wear a burka’.”

Johnson was immediately heckled by the audience while Kumar placed his head in his hands and said: “What are you talking about man?”

A flustered Rinder said: “We’d expect them to be qualified. That’s the only thing that matters.”

He added: “That’s disgraceful.”

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TV judge Robert Rinder challenged Stanley Johnson on his comments about the burka (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Johnson replied: “Have you ever flown a plane?” The author and former politician then asked if there are “certain circumstances,” including court, where people are required to show their face.

“I might be totally wrong,” he said. Rinder replied: “You’re talking complete rubbish.”

Kumar, in disbelief, said: “What is going on here?”

Earlier Johnson, who was a contestant on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2017, said he was “very, very pleased with the exit polls” indicating there would be a Conservative majority.

Speaking of his son, he said: “I’ve got to say, all this stuff about him being a right-wing populist, that’s not the child I knew, he was pro-European.

“Of course he was pro-European. Okay folks, why do you think he is called Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson? Because he’s got about four streaks of Europeanism in his pedigree.

“It is in his DNA, that is a man who is as European as you can think of. What this government is going to do is rebuild a bridge to Europe that is going to be so strong it can never be blown down.”

PA

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