Damian Green says burka ban would be 'un-British'
Last week French MPs voted to ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public
Banning the wearing of the Islamic full veil in public would be "un-British", the immigration minister has said.
Damian Green told the Sunday Telegraph trying to pass such a law would be at odds with the UK's "tolerant and mutually respectful society".
It comes after Tory MP Philip Hollobone introduced a private members' bill which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public.
Last week French MPs voted to ban the wearing of full face veils in public.
The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by France's lower house of parliament, must now be ratified by the Senate in September to become law. If it is passed, it will be illegal to wear garments such as the niqab or burka, which incorporate a full-face veil, anywhere in public.
But Mr Green said such a move was "very unlikely" to be copied in the UK.
"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 minister said there were occasions when it was important to be able to see someone's face, but insisted that "it's very unlikely and it would be undesirable for the British Parliament to try and pass a law dictating what people wore".
Mr Green said that, unlike France, the UK was not "aggressively secular".
It comes after fellow Conservative MP Mr Hollobone, who put forward the Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill, declared that he would not meet burka or niqab-clad women at his Kettering constituency surgeries unless they lifted their veils.
He has previously described the burka as "offensive" and "against the British way of life".
Shadow justice secretary Jack Straw, who sparked controversy in 2006 when he revealed he asked constituents to lift their veils, said he was opposed to a ban.
The former minister said he was "seeking to generate a debate within a framework of freedom", adding that about half agreed to his request and half refused.