WHAT sort of madness is this, when references to a letter box and bank robbers is threatening to tear the Conservative Party apart, limb from limb? Boris Johnson’s description, in a newspaper article, of burkas looking like letter boxes, and making the women who wear them resemble bank robbers, has probably created more furore, nation wide, than any other political issue this year.

The Prime Minister, no less, has registered her disapproval at the former Foreign Secetary’s comments, there have been fortissimo demands for him to issue a grovelling apology, and the full panoply of an investigation has been mounted. Talk about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Johnson, meanwhile, has now returned from holiday and at the time of writing has shown no sign of apologising. Quite right too. Taking the mickey out of religions is, in my opinion, perfectly in order – some people are bound to be offended, but that does not mean you have to say sorry.

At least one prominent Tory, the former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, has said he would leave the party if Johnson became leader.

But is this really, as it has been characterised, a bid for the leadership, or simply a graphic way of saying what he really thinks about burkas? Johnson is not, in fact, advocating that they be banned in this country.

Those who criticise him could do worse than study these words of Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Boris has underlined his aloof disdain for the furore by totally ignoring the issue in his latest column.

I SEE that Sir Vince Cable, leader of the remnants of the Liberal Democrat Party has well and truly gone EU native. He says there should be a new referendum on Brexit because the centre of gravity on this issue has now fallen on the Remainers.

And he seems certain that a second referendum would go in favour of the Remainers and dish the Brexiteers. This is a typical EU ploy: If a vote in one of the member states brings up the ‘wrong’ result, they will order another vote until they get the ‘right’ one. A pretty shameful way of doing things.

However, Sir Vince’s plan is perhaps not quite so outrageous as that proposed by one of his predecessors, Nick Clegg, who said that in a second referendum young people should be given two votes each. Clegg had, of course, been booted out of Parliament before he came up with that crackpot idea.

But you have to ask Sir Vince one crucial question: If he noticed that the centre of gravity in Twickenham, his constituency, had moved and fallen on his opponents, would he resign from Parliament and create a by-election there? In short, would he be prepared to put his own political career on the line, if he felt his constituents didn’t love him any more? I very much doubt it, but such a scenario is on all fours with what he is advocating over Brexit.

Why can’t the Remainers accept the fact that they were soundly beaten in the Referendum, and instead help to make Brexit a success?

THE Conservatives have sneaked into an undeserved four-point lead over Labour in the latest YouGov opinion poll.

But the Tories should pause before they start patting themselves on the back. These findings probably simply show they are less bad than the Opposition. In fact, Ministers can in part thank Labour for this narrow lead – principally because the antisemitism row which has engulfed Labour – has probably cost the party many, many Jewish votes.