France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that Muslim headscarves should be banned in universities in comments that have sparked an immediate backlash from some within his own party.

In a lengthy interview with France's Libération newspaper published Tuesday, the Socialist prime minister was asked directly if a ban on headscarves already in place at French state schools and public-sector workplaces should be extended to universities.

"It should be done," said Valls, though he admitted that "there are rules in the constitution that would make such a ban difficult".

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