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Speaking to Nigel Farage on his LBC show the arch-Brexiteer argued that trying to shut down free speech when offended is where this “safe space nonsense” comes from.
Nigel asked the MP for North East Somerset: “Is Mrs May right to have asked Boris Johnson to apologise?”
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “No, she’s clearly wrong to have asked him to have apologised. It’s not the job of the Prime Minister to tell backbenchers what to do.
“We are not bound by collective responsibility or that type of discipline and it is the wrong approach to party discipline.
“The Prime Minister is of course entitled to expect ministers to stick to a government line but that does not apply to backbench MPs.”
The Tory MP for North East Somerset said he would not back a ban on the burqa because that is not something a “free society does”.
Mr Rees-Mogg continued: “He’s completely entitled to say it and there’s nothing to apologise for.
“I think he is entitled to have a view on whether the burqa should be banned or not and as it happens I agree with him that it wouldn’t be banned.
“That would be a ban against items of religious clothing which I do not think is something that a free society does.
“Viewing it as a catholic, catholic items were banned in this country historically and it tends to be done by an oppressive state rather than by a free country.
“Suggesting that a burqa is not the most elegant form of clothing is a reasonable thing to do. Boris was saying he didn’t think it was an elegant form of dress but he wouldn’t ban it.
“If you view it in that context the row looks pretty synthetic and looks like there are people who do not like Boris and want to have a pop at him.”
Nigel Farage said there will be some people who were offended by Boris Johnson’s comments and asked: “Is it right within the limits of free speech to say things that cause offence to other people.”
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Oh yes of course it is, you can’t have any public debate if every time somebody decides to be offended by something you shut it down and say you are not allowed to say that.
“This is where all the safe spaces nonsense comes from.
“You have to have a vigorous debate within the confines of the normal law, you can’t incite violence or do things of that kind but to say things that other people disagree with is how political debate needs to be conducted.”
Last update on by John Rosatelli.
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