Tory Part Conference: Government should back schools, courts and hospitals if they ban the niqab, says David Cameron

Prime Minster says that he does not believe in a full ban, but that there were certain circumstances where face coverings were inappropriate

Whitehall Editor

Schools, courts and hospitals which require individuals to remove face-coverings such as the niqab veil should have the Government’s full support, David Cameron has said..

Mr Cameron said he would look at whether the state needed to do more to back up institutions which choose to implement a ban.

However he reiterated that he did not believe there should be a ban on wearing the niqab - which conceals the whole face - in public.

“We are a free country and people should be free to wear whatever clothes they like in public or in private,” he said.

But he said there were circumstances where wearing face coverings was inappropriate, he suggested.

“We should support those institutions that need to put in place rules so that those institutions can work properly.

"So for instance in a school, if they want that particular dress code, I believe the Government should back them. The same for courts, the same for immigration.

“I think we should back those institutions that want to have sensible policies that actually have a particular purpose.”

Asked if he would respond to a judge's suggestion that there should be national guidelines on the wearing of the niqab in court, Mr Cameron said: “I'm very happy to look at that.

"Obviously, in court the jury needs to be able to look at someone's face. I've sat on a jury, that's part of what you do.

“When someone is coming into the country, an immigration officer needs to see someone's face.

“In a school, it's very difficult to teach unless you can look at your pupils in the eye.

“It's a free country and I think a free country should have free and independent institutions. No plans for anything on the street, but if the Government needs to do more to back up institutions, then I would be happy to look at that.”

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