Aware that the election is looming and that this time the Muslim vote might make a difference to the closest election race in years, Jack Straw, the MP who started the niqab (face veil) debate in this country a few years back has now apologised for his comments. Islamaphobia Watch has quoted him as saying:
"To be blunt, if I had realised the scale of publicity that they [his comments] received in October 2006, I wouldn't have made them and I am sorry that it has caused problems and I offer that apology.
"Can I just say, this is about an issue of communication (you understand). I wasn't raising it to say it [the burqa] should be banned – quite the opposite. Let me say, I'm not responsible for those in France or Germany or in this country pursuing this. That is their business. I am fundamentally opposed to what they are doing.
"But if you ask me the specific question: Do I regret the fact that it [my comments] had then got taken round the world and taken out of context? Yes of course I do and I go on seeing people – Muslim women, wearing the full veil in my constituency advice surgery. I wouldn't dream of treating them other than with respect and I think they know from me that I do give them respect and I give them as much help as I give anybody else whatever their faith. And I am really glad to have had that opportunity to clear that up."
You can read the full text of what he said here.