BORIS Johnson has apologised “for any offence caused” for describing veiled Muslim women as looking like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

The Prime Minister issued his apology on ITV’s This Morning after presenters Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield stressed how Muslims had been hurt and offended by his remarks.

“People dig out all sorts of articles,” declared Mr Johnson, who then added: “I’ve already said sorry for any offence caused and I say it again.”

Insisting once again that his comments, written in a newspaper article last year, had been taken out of context, he went on: “It’s always worth looking at the whole article and what I’m really intending to say, because actually it’s quite the opposite. I’m very proud on my record on combatting extremism and indeed of my Muslim ancestry.”

When confronted previously on the issue during the campaign, the Tory leader has dodged giving a fulsome apology.

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Last month, during his appearance on the BBC’s election Question Time, he noted: “If you go hrough all my articles with a fine-tooth comb and take out individual phrases, there is no doubt that you can find things that can be made to seem offensive and, of course, I understand that."

Earlier this week on the same programme, Jeremy Corbyn apologised for anti-Semitism in his party.

The Labour leader said: “Our party and me do not accept anti-Semitism in any form; obviously, I’m very sorry for everything that’s happened but I want to make this clear, I am dealing with it, I have dealt with it.”

In his TV appearance today, Mr Johnson insisted Britain was "one of the safest countries in the world" in spite of last week's terrorist attack.

"Simple things like stopping the early release of serious and violent criminals, that's what we've got to do,” he declared.

"We've got to stop people coming out early and then committing the same sorts of crimes again."

Mr Johnson said it was "quite incredible" that the London Bridge attacker Usman Khan did not have to see the parole board before being released.

Asked if he should have been "locked up and the key thrown" away, the PM replied: "You must always try to rehabilitate people; you've always got to give people a chance...

"But there are some people, and probably this guy is one of them, who just are not capable of being changed and in his case the best thing for the public and for him was to keep him inside and it was wrong to have early release."

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On other issues the PM:

*acknowledged there was a “big trust issue with the whole of politics at the moment” but he put that down to Westminster not delivering on Brexit;

*dismissed as "complete nonsense" any suggestion the NHS would be sold off under a future Tory government and gave a “rock solid guarantee” that it would not;

*defended the proposal of taxing would-be NHS workers coming from the European Union after Brexit, saying it was “only fair that people who come to this country[and] make use of our services, from wherever they come from, should make a contribution; that's reasonable."