Skip to comments.Brown supports Straw over veils
Posted on 10/10/2006 1:58:31 PM PDT by MadIvan
Gordon Brown has backed Commons leader Jack Straw over his comments on Muslim women wearing veils.
The chancellor told BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, it was important to "have a proper debate".
Last week, Mr Straw said it would be better for integration if women did not wear veils as they were "a visible statement of separation".
Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Blair said his colleague had been "perfectly sensible" in raising the issue.
Asked on BBC One's Six o' Clock News whether Mr Straw had been right to say it would be better for integration if people did not wear veils, Mr Brown said: "Yes, but I think he's not proposing new laws.
"He's proposing a debate about the cultural changes that might have to take place in Britain, and I would emphasise the importance of what we do to integrate people into our country, including the language, including history, including the curriculum."
Then asked if he thought it would be "better for Britain" if fewer people wore veils, Mr Brown replied: "Well that's what Jack Straw has said and I support."
The integration debate had to look at citizenship ceremonies and the teaching of British history, he said.
Mr Brown also said immigrants "should speak the language of English".
Earlier, Mr Blair said the Commons leader had raised the issue in a "measured and considered" way, and cautioned against people getting "hysterical" about it.
Author Salman Rushdie also backed Mr Straw, saying that veils "suck" as they were a symbol of the "limitation of women".
The controversy arose after Mr Straw said last week that he now asked Muslim women to take off full veils at his constituency surgery.
He said he did not want to be "prescriptive" but he believed that covering people's faces could make community relations more difficult.
Mr Straw is Labour MP for Blackburn, where between 25% and 30% of residents are Muslim.
Some Muslims have called his remarks insulting but others said they understood his concerns.
Betcha a dollar they were women.
Ya know, the veils don't bother me nearly as much as the idea that, deep down, they want us to CONVERT OR DIE.
How do you support Straw over veils? With a net? And why would you put Straw over veils in the first place? Veils look uncomfortable enough to begin with.
Ivan....I too, support Straw!