A senior Church of England bishop last night called for a near-total ban on the wearing of burkas in public.
The former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said burkas and niqabs should be outlawed in a wide range of situations where people interact, including in hospitals, GP surgeries, universities and schools.
The cleric said a ban should also extend to areas where there were legitimate security and safety concerns, such as at airports or while driving a car. However, he said it was acceptable for women to wear face veils at home, while in the street and at prayer.
The controversial call from the Pakistani-born bishop, who led the Diocese of Rochester between 1994 and 2009, drew support last night from Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Lord Carey said 'oppressive' veils should not become 'normalised'.