The majority of Britons believe Boris Johnson should not be punished for his burka comments, a Sunday Express poll reveals.
The former foreign secretary caused huge controversy when he wrote that women wearing the Muslim garment looked like "letter boxes" or "bank robbers".
But most people believe the leading Tory leadership contender, who flew back into England after a short break in Italy yesterday, should not be disciplined by the party over the article.
And 60 per cent of people say free speech is under threat, the ComRes poll shows.
The results come as calls mount for the Conservatives to drop any disciplinary proceedings against Mr Johnson.