A Northamptonshire MP has defended his proposal to ban facial coverings in a debate on BBC Radio 5 live this morning (Friday, September 6).
Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, was participating in the debate ahead of his private member’s bill at Parliament later today which would ban the burka – as well as other coverings – in public places.
“I don’t think it should be permissible for someone to cover their face in public, and we are seeing that increasingly,” Mr Hollobone told the Telegraph earlier this week.
“Whether it be English Defence League marchers or Islamic women with full-face coverings, society can’t function if people go around with facial coverings.
“If we all covered our faces the world would be a very different place. Imagine Parliament where everyone had their face covered. It makes it very difficult for the police to identify troublemakers.
“I am sad that legislation may be necessary to address this problem. It’s basic common sense to most people.
“It would ultimately lead to the breakdown of our society.” Mr Hollobone denied his proposal amounted to an attack on Islam, adding: “We have to be quite clear – the burka isn’t religious clothing. It’s a choice.”
The 5 live debate prompted a hostile reaction to the proposals from many Twitter users, who said the bill was illiberal and discriminatory.
France introduced a ban on full facial coverings two years ago.
The facial coverings bill is one of three to be brought before Parliament by Mr Hollobone, MP since 2005, this morning. He is also proposing to reintroduce a form of national service and to withdraw from the EU.
The Telegraph has been following Mr Hollobone’s campaign on facial coverings for a number of years. In 2010, he said he was pleased following reports the only two women in Kettering who wore burkas had left the town. To see the story, click here.