Leading Conservative Kenneth Clarke has provoked controversy on many occasions during his more than 40+ years as an MP. Despite being a renowned lover of suede shoes, he has treaded on many toes. The most recent has been his flippant remarks, derogatively describing the Muslim niqab as a “bag”. It was a “peculiar costume,” he said.
The 73-year old cigar-smoking Cabinet Minister is not famous for his finesse but as a veteran member of the Government, one would think he would choose his words more wisely. Or risk being accused of baring his prejudices at a time when fires are again being stoked to ban the traditional Islamic style of dress and Muslims are being marginalised. His comments are not just highly offensive but play to the gallery of right-wing extremists.