Former justice secretary Ken Clarke has said women should not be allowed to give evidence in court while wearing veils because it ‘undermines the trial’ when they are ‘in a kind of bag’.
The Conservative politician said body language was important because it allowed jurors to discern if someone was telling the truth and covering up could affect their ability to make a decision.
But the cabinet minister could anger some Muslims with his choice of words to describe a veil.
‘It’s almost impossible to have a proper trial if one of the persons (is) in a kind of bag,’ he told BBC Radio 4′s The World This Weekend.
Mr Clarke said normally women should be allowed to wear what they want and insisted he was not being Islamaphobic when making the suggestion.
He added: ‘I don’t see how on earth a judge and a jury can really appraise evidence when you’re facing someone who is cloaked and is completely invisible to you. I actually think it undermines a trial.’
The comments follow a ruling in September that a woman had to remove her full-face veil when giving evidence.
Home secretary Theresa May has previously said the decision of whether to wear a veil should be left to the individual, although she admitted in some cases the coverings would have to be removed.
See on metro.co.uk