The Conservative Party is setting up an independent panel to investigate comments made by Boris Johnson about women wearing burqas.

Pressure has been building on the party to do something after the former foreign secretary wrote a column for the Daily Telegraph in which he compared burqa wearers to "letter boxes" and compared them to robbers.

Earlier this week party chairman Brandon Lewis and other Tory colleagues called on Johnson to apologise, although so far he has resisted.

Prime Minister Theresa May belatedly said she agreed with Lewis, acknowledging his comments had caused offence in the Muslim community.

Following what is understood to be a number of complaints, he will now face investigation by an independent panel to determine whether he breached the Conservative party's code of conduct.

The panel will comprise at least three people appointed by Lewis, with one member selected by 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady.

The process will be kept confidential while it is undertaken.

The code of conduct stipulates that MPs "lead by example to encourage and foster respect and tolerance".

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "The code of conduct process is strictly confidential."

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