Liberty threaten burkha MP with court fight

By Ian Dunt

Liberty has promised to take the Tory MP who refused to meet constituents wearing a burkha to court if he acts on his remarks.

Philip Hollobone, who currently has a private members bill going through parliament on banning the burkha, said he would refuse to meet with any of his Kettering constituents if they refused to remove their niqab or burkha.

Lawyers for the pressure group Liberty wrote to the MP warning him that to do so would be contrary to the Equalities Act, which bans discrimination in the provision of goods and services.

“As an MP providing a service. the obligation under the Equality Act not to discriminate. applies to you,” the letter states.

Liberty “will be happy to represent any of your constituents that you refuse to meet because they are veiled”, it concludes.

James Welch, legal director for Liberty, said: “Common sense and decency suggest that neither freedom nor integration is achieved by cutting people off from their elected representatives or arresting them for walking down the street.

“We have written to Mr Hollobone to advise him of the law as enacted by parliament and feel confident that no well-advised honourable member would seek to breach it by meeting with constituents on a discriminatory basis.”