CONTROVERSIAL comments by former foreign secretary Boris Johnson in which he made disparaging remarks about the burka have been met with a mixed response from politicians in Gwent.

The Tory MP came under fire earlier this week after calling the garment "absolutely ridiculous" and saying Muslim women wearing it looked like "letter boxes" and "bank robbers".

His comments, made in a column in the Daily Telegraph, have been widely criticised, and yesterday it was announced he is to face investigation by an independent panel following claims he had breached the Conservative Party's code of conduct.

But Newport West MP Paul Flynn dismissed the outspoken former mayor of London's comments, saying: "Boris will say anything to improve his chances of being the next prime minister.

"His comments are rarely to be taken seriously. His aim is to be the next Trump."

But Conservative Monmouth MP David Davies has defended his party colleague, who said he found the hijab, as well as the niqab, another form of veil worn by Muslim women, "quite difficult to accept".

"Women have the right to walk around wearing whatever they want, without fearing harassment by men," he said.

"Women are not, now or ever, the property of men.

"This is what people should be getting angry about - not Boris Johnson's comments."

The Conservative Party has declined to comment on the matter.

Party rules say formal complaints will be investigated "in a timely and confidential manner" by someone "with appropriate experience and no prior involvement in the complaint". "The investigation should be thorough, impartial and objective, and carried out with sensitivity and due respect for the rights of all parties concerned," says the code of conduct.

Theresa May has told Mr Johnson to apologise for his comments, while Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson have also criticised him. But the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP is yet to comment.

Earlier this week a Sky News poll found 48 per cent did not think he should apologise, while 45 per cent said he should.