Burka ban 'would be rather un-British'

Banning the wearing of burkas in public would be “rather un-British”, the country's Immigration Minister said today as he attacked efforts to make it illegal in the UK.

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.

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.”

The French legislation, which is backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, will pass to the upper house, or Senate, in September.

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