The Government should not tell women what to wear, the Home Secretary has said amid ongoing debate over the use of full-face veils.
Theresa May said it is for women to “make a choice” about what clothes they wear, including veils, although there will be some circumstances when it will be necessary to ask for them to be removed.
Her comments come after a judge on Monday ruled that a Muslim woman will be allowed to stand trial while wearing a full-face veil but must remove it while giving evidence.
The ruling followed calls by Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne for a national debate on whether the state should step in to prevent young women having the veil imposed upon them.
Asked if Parliament needs to issue formal guidance to courts and schools on whether women should be allowed to wear a veil, the Home Secretary told Sky News: “I start from the position that I don’t think Government should tell people, I don’t think the Government should tell women, what they should be wearing.
“I think it’s for women to make a choice about what clothes they wish to wear, if they wish to wear a veil that is for a woman to make a choice.
“There will be some circumstances in which it’s right for public bodies, for example at the border, at airport security, to say there is a practical necessity for asking somebody to remove a veil.
“But in general women should be free to decide what to wear for themselves.”