Muslim women are forced to wear niqab headscarves to “hide their bruises” according to Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries.
The controversial Tory MP made the claim on her Twitter account this week, as she offered her support to former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
She wrote: “No woman in a liberal, progressive society should be forced to cover up her beauty or her bruises.
“Boris didn’t go far enough. France, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, they aren’t on their knees in apology.”
Ms Dorries was a supporter of Mr Johnson when he made his abortive bid to become Conservative leader in 2016.
He resigned from the cabinet last month, and in a newspaper column this week compared fully veiled Muslim women to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.
Bedford Borough Labour councillor Louise Jackson was unimpressed.
She said: “It’s just dog whistle politics.
“These remarks are not only deeply offensive, but are nothing to do with protecting the rights of any woman of Muslim faith or otherwise, and are instead everything to do with shoring up her choice of Tory party leader, Boris Johnson, who is himself a national disgrace.”
She added: “I am doubtful that she has actually spoken to many Muslim women to ask their views – but I’m just as uncomfortable with Nadine Dorries telling women what to wear as I would be anyone else.”
North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt also took the opposite view to Ms Dorries.
Mr Burt, who served with Mr Johnson as a Foreign Office minister, was the first Conservative frontbencher to publicly condemn Mr Johnson’s remarks.
He said: “I would never have made such a comment. I think there is a degree of offence in that, absolutely right.”
Ms Dorries was not available for comment.