London, Jul 19 (ANI): British Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has vowed to oppose calls for banning burka in United Kingdom, and added that wearing a burkha could be "empowering" for some Muslim women.
Spelman claimed that a full-face veil was seen as "conferring dignity" in some Islamic societies, such as Afghanistan.
"We are a free country, we attach importance to people being free and for a woman it is empowering to be able to choose each morning when you wake up what you wear," the Daily Express quoted her, as saying.
But her remarks sparked an angry reaction from critics on Sunday.
UK Independence Party Euro MP Nigel Farage, whose party is pressing for the burkha and other face coverings to be outlawed, said: "It is astonishing that a member of the Government in the 21st century can say that women covering their faces empowers them."
"It does not. It disadvantages them in every walk of life. Her comments are ignorant and ill-founded," Farage added.
A recent YouGov opinion poll found more than two thirds of voters in Britain want full-face veils banned.
Earlier this month French MPs voted to ban the burkha in France. (ANI)