Banning the wearing of burkas in public would be 'rather un-British', the Immigration Minister said today as he attacked efforts to make it illegal in this country.
Damian Green said it would be 'undesirable' for Parliament to try to pass such a law, which would be at odds with the UK's 'tolerant and mutually respectful society'.
Fellow Tory MP Philip Hollobone introduced a private members' bill which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
More than two thirds of voters back a ban like that approved almost unanimously by French MPs last week, according to a recent opinion poll.
But Mr Green insisted such a move was 'very unlikely' to be copied here.
'Telling people what they can and can't wear, if they're just walking down the street, is a rather un-British thing to do,' he told the Sunday Telegraph.
'We're a tolerant and mutually respectful society.'
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman today also spoke out against the prospect of a ban.
'I take a strong view on this, actually, that I don't, living in this country, as a woman, want to be told what I can and can't wear,' she said.
'That's something which both myself and (community cohesion minister Baroness) Sayeeda Warsi have argued very strongly, that one of the things we pride ourselves on in this country is being free - and being free to choose what you wear is a part of that.
'So actually banning the burka is absolutely contrary, I think, to what this country is all about.'
Source: Daily Mail