En statssekretær fra Liberaldemokratene sier myndighetene må vurdere å forby niqab i klasserommene.
Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat, said there needs to be a national debate about whether the state should step in to protect young women from having the veil “imposed” on them.
Mr Browne said he is “instinctively uneasy” about banning behaviour, but suggested the measure may still be necessary to ensure freedom of choice for girls in Muslim communities.
The Home Office minister is the first senior Liberal Democrat to raise such deep concerns about Islamic dress in public places. A growing number of Conservative MPs also want the Government to consider a ban.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has suggested he may support banning the veil in classrooms, but downplayed the chances of wider restrictions.
The debate was given momentum last week when David Cameron’s spokesman said the Prime Minister would have no problem with the veil being banned in his children’s schools.
His comments follow a political row last week over a decision by Birmingham Metropolitan College to ban veils.
The college was accused of discriminating against Muslims when it ordered all students, staff and visitors to remove face coverings so individuals are “easily identifiable at all times”. It then backtracked after a petition attracted 8,000 signatures in 48 hours and the policy drew criticism from politicians.
Under the current guidance, schools are entitled to set their own uniform policy.
Mr Cameron has so far declined to revisit the rules on veils in schools, but his position is coming under pressure as MPs from across the political spectrum speak out.
Downing Street has said the Prime Minister would support a ban on full-face veils in his children’s schools, but insisted the final decision should rest with head teachers.