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Rowan Atkinson has defended Boris Johnson over his comments on women wearing burkas and said the former Foreign Secretary's remarks were funny.
Mr Johnson is facing an investigation and could be disciplined by Conservative party bosses after saying women in burkas looked like 'letterboxes' and 'bank robbers'.
Atkinson - Beneficiary - Freedom - Jokes - Religion
Atkinson, 63, said: 'As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson's joke about wearers of the burka resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one.'
The actor, known for his comedy performances in Blackadder and Mr Bean, wrote in a letter to the Times: 'All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them.
'You - Apologise - Joke - Basis - Apology
'You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.'
Atkinson has previously argued in favour of a 'right to offend', saying in 2004 that proposed religious hatred laws would silence 'creative thinkers'.
Time - 'Freedom - Expression - Artists - Entertainers
He said at the time: 'Freedom of expression must be protected for artists and entertainers and we must not accept a bar on the lampooning of religion and religious leaders.'
Mr Johnson is to face an investigation by an independent panel after complaints that his comments breached the Conservative Party's code of conduct.
Tory - Sources - Party - Choice - Probe
Tory sources have insisted the party was left with no choice but to launch the probe because it was triggered automatically after they received a flurry of complaints.
But the move has sparked a furious backlash from Mr Johnson's allies who have accused No10 of trying to 'destroy' the ex minister because they see him as a threat.
Tory - MP - Andrew - Bridgen - 'I
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: 'I believe this is politically motivated, by the internal politics of the Tory party, by politicians who want to humiliate and destroy Boris Johnson.'
He added: 'I believe that the public will see this for...
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