Theresa May faces huge backlash from MPs and grassroots Tories over ‘cack-handed’ response to Boris Johnson burka jibe

Furious MPs and grassroots Tories turned on the PM to demand she call off an inquiry.

Cabinet ministers were also at loggerheads, with at least five voicing their support for the former Foreign Secretary.

One told The Sun on Sunday: “I’ve never seen such a cack-handed mess.

“To start infighting like this when Labour are on the ropes over anti-Semitism is sheer lunacy.

“Boris’s article wasn’t that bad, anyway. A lot of people have said worse and most of the party agrees with him.”

Another added: “It’s been a cock-up from start to finish.”

Mrs May’s inner circle has been locked in crisis meetings.

They want both sides to save face amid fears MPs may call for a no-confidence vote. Tory chairman Brandon Lewis triggered the row by ordering a probe into BoJo’s newspaper column.

In it he described women who wear the full-face veil as looking like bank robbers or letter boxes, but refused to back calls for a ban.

My son's spot on, declares Stanley

Author and pundit Stanley Johnson said he would go even further and ban the full-face veil in some walks of life.

Mr Johnson, 77, said it was an own-goal for the Tory party to launch an inquiry into BoJo’s jibe.

He revealed he had reread the article in which his son said Muslim women wearing a full veil resemble robbers or letter boxes — and could see nothing wrong.

He declared: “Boris used some colourful language. That’s called freedom of speech. But he said what needed to be said. I’d have liked him to have gone a bit further.

“There are circumstances where a ban would be in order. Shouldn’t female teachers, nurses or doctors be seen as well as heard?”

  • By David Wooding, Sunday Political Editor

Boris last night returned to Gatwick from an Italy holiday still refusing to apologise.

There were also demonstrations by women in burkas in his Uxbridge constituency. Some ministers said Mr Lewis was trying to further his own leadership ambitions.

One said: “This investigation has p***ed off too many of us. Theresa needs to call off this investigation. No good will come of it.”

But another said: “It’s regrettable this has dragged on but it was Boris who started it. The PM merely did what she had to.

"He stepped out of line and she was right to make clear she found his remarks unacceptable.”

One senior MP blamed the “complete lack of political judgment at No 10.

They said: “Brandon wanted to give Boris a kicking. But trying to silence Boris was a big mistake as most people agree with his remarks.”

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