MERIDEN MP Caroline Spelman has waded into the debate over whether Britain should ban burkas, defending the right of Muslim women to wear them.
The Environment Secretary has argued that women are “enpowered” by wearing the veil and said that she was vehemently against a ban.
“I don’t, living in this country as a woman, want to be told what I can and can’t wear,” she told Sky News.
“I’ve been out to Afghanistan and I think I understand much better as a result of actually visiting why a lot of Muslim women want to wear the burka.”
Mrs Spelman, one of just four women in David Cameron’s cabinet, added that this country should be proud of giving people freedom of choice.
Her comments come after cabinet colleague Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, said that banning the controversial garment would be “un-British”.
But Mrs Spelman’s position has also whipped up controversy - a recent poll indicates that 67 per cent of voters are in favour of a ban.
Tory backbencher Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, has recently tabled a private members’ bill - which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public.
And West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass (UKIP) said last week he was concerned that the veil was used to conceal people’s identity.
*Do you agree with Mrs Spelman on this issue? Do burkas empower women or are they a symbol of oppression? Write in to 150, High Street, Solihull, B91 3SX.