Britain's Immigration Minister says banning the wearing of burqas in public would be un-British and he has attacked efforts to make it illegal.
Damian Green said it would be undesirable for parliament to try to pass such a law which would be at odds with the UK's tolerant and mutually respectful society.
Fellow Tory MP Philip Hollobone has introduced a private members' bill which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public.
More than two thirds of voters back a ban like that approved almost unanimously by French MPs last week, according to a recent opinion poll.
The French legislation, which is backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, will pass to the upper house in September.