The 57-year-old newswoman was interviewing Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative MP with a background in evolutionary biology, on Brexiteer heavyweight Boris Johnson’s recent comments about the face veil, which along with the similar niqab (often mistaken for the burqa, in this instance as in several others) has generally been forced on women on pain of severe punishment by regimes such as the Taliban, rather than adopted as a matter of choice.
However, its defenders in the West — usually Islamists and their leftist useful idiots — oppose bans as an affront to “women’s right to choose what they wear”, with establishment ‘conservatives’ generally going along with this and pretending it is personal liberty issue (while conveniently ignoring the fact that the wearing of crash helmets in certain areas, ski masks, and female toplessness are already regulated by the British state).
Whilst defending @BorisJohnson's article comparing Muslim women in burqas to bank robbers and letterboxes, Conservative MP @ABridgen says speaking to a woman in a burqa makes him feel uncomfortable pic.twitter.com/2fjAJff5RW
— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) August 7, 2018
Johnson, prompted by news that Denmark has joined Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Latvia, and a number of Mulsim-majority countires in banning full face coverings, said he would not endorse prohibiting the garment, but was disparaging about it — prompting a bizarre backlash from left-liberal progressives, who regarded this as “Islamophobic” and even “racist”.
Bridgen, appearing on Sky News to defend Johnson, said he would also not support a ban, but explained that it was “natural” that the burqa made people uncomfortable, as human beings have evolved over thousands of years to look to the facial expressions of others to smooth social interaction.
Burley was keen to force Bridgen to admit he was not comfortable with the burqa — appearing to regard this as some terrible admission, rather than a statement of the majority position of the British public, 71 per cent of whom would support a ban — and took particular issue with the idea that not being able to read someone’s face could impair communication.
“So what about, I don’t know, something like Simon Weston, who can’t necessarily show his facial expressions given what happened to him at the Falklands and he was so hideously burned?” she asked the MP.
“I’ve met Simon many times,” he offered, seeming perplexed by the line of questioning.
“Yeah, so, I mean, would that… does that offend you?” Burley demanded.
“…Not at all,” replied Bridgen after a long pause, evidently appalled.
“But he can’t show his facial expressions the way that you’ve just been illustrating, so just, just, just take that to its logical conclusion for me?” Burley replied triumphantly, evidently thinking this was a slam dunk.
“That is a ridiculous comparison,” Bridgen replied.
“[Weston] is a decorated war hero, who’s been terribly, terribly wounded in service of his country. I mean, who’s going to look at Simon Weston in anything other than absolute esteem?”
Burley continued to labour the point for some time, however, appearing to imply she did not believe there was any practical difference between disfigurements and the wearing of facial coverings, at least for the purposes of the interview.
A burqa may be removed, but Mr Weston will never be able to remove the physical and emotional scars of his experience. MSM in 2018 https://t.co/LWh13N7sJa
— UKIP (@UKIP) August 7, 2018
Burley’s performance drew a harsh backlash from many members of the public on social media, several of whom indicated they would be making using of Sky’s complaint form.
The UK Independence Party also weighed in, with its official account tweeting: “Crass and idiotic ‘journalism’ from @KayBurley of @SkyNews comparing the wearing of a Burqa to the facial scars of Falklands War hero Simon Weston. A burqa may be removed, but Mr Weston will never be able to remove the physical and emotional scars of his experience. [Mainstream media ]in 2018″.
Burley offered no apology either to Weston, Bridgen, or her online critics, however, appearing to relish in the upset she had caused.
“Criticised by UKIP. My work here is done,” she replied happily, accompanying her message with a smiley face emoji.
Why a news presenter governed by Ofcom impartiality regulations should consider provoking a particular political party her “work” was not explained.