Most Britons Back Burqa Ban: Poll

Burqa
A court has upheld the Belgian ban on full-face veils. Osman Orsal/Reuters

A majority of Britons support banning the burqa in public places, a poll says.

The YouGov survey of 1,668 adults found that 57 percent support banning the wearing of the garment in public, while just 25 percent would oppose such a ban.

Some 46 percent would support a ban on wearing the "burkini," the full-cover religious swimwear controversially banned by some French towns, in public, and 30 percent would oppose banning this.

More people would support a burqa ban than oppose it in every age group, except for 18-24 year olds, who would oppose the policy by a margin of 40 to 34.

The results broadly reflect those from a similar survey in 2012 in which 60 percent said they supported a ban on the burqa and 23 percent said they would oppose the ban.

But they are significant because, unlike in France or Germany, where there is also majority support for a ban, in Britain no top-rank politicians support such a policy.

Lisa Duffy, a candidate for the UKIP leadership, supports a limited ban on the burqa, but not a ban on the burkini.

The British government last week ruled out a ban on the burkini, with a spokesperson for the equalities office telling the Daily Telegraph: "We support the rights of individuals in keeping with Britain's tradition of freedom and fairness."