Friday, 23 July 2010 09:59
I really enjoyed my maiden appearance on Question Time in Hartlepool. I haven't seen the programme yet but got some really postive comments. However, I understand from my mum that I may have said on the programme that I was agnostic!
I certainly am not and can't recall saying that. I do recall getting into a heated exchange with Nigel Farage MEP about the idea of politicians telling women what they can and cant wear in the context of "banning the nikab". I think David Dimbleby asked my personal view as a Muslim. I meant to say (and thought I did say) I am agnostic about whether women should wear the nikab or not. My point was it's not for me, as a male politician, to tell women what to wear - let alone legislate to ban or criminalise it.
I don't think women are empowered by legislating what they can wear or emancipated by threatening them with prison for wearing a certain item of clothing.
It is ironic that the UKIP and the Tory MP bringing forward the Private Members Bill to ban the nikab want us to copy the French, Belgians and Italians on this issue, but no other!
And for the avoidance of doubt, I am not agnostic about my faith!
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