Only 25% of British voters would oppose a burqa ban if the controversial crackdown on the Islamic dress was proposed in the UK, according to YouGov.

The pollsters' findings come after France's highest administrative court ruled against laws introduced by several mayors who outlawed so called 'burkini' swimwear.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has also weighed into the debate as part of his 2017 election campaign. The right-winger has promised to ban the garment across the country if he gains power.

Ukip leadership candidate Lisa Duffy has proposed such a ban and Conservative MPs Philip Hollobone, Peter Bone and Christopher Chope called for a public ban of the burqa in 2013.

Labour grandee Jack Straw, then leader of the House of Commons, faced controversy in 2006 when he branded veils as a "visible statement of separation and of difference."

The YouGov survey, of more than 1,600 voters between 24 and 25 August, also found that women are about as likely to support a ban as men (56% and 58% respectively). The research also revealed support for a ban is most popular among the elderly.

A vast majority (78%) of those aged 65 or older back such a crackdown, while just 34% of 18-24 year olds support a ban.

Masarat Daud, a girls' education campaigner, writes for IBTimes UK

"BurkiniGate is a slap in the face of Islamophobia deniers. It is a mirror reflecting the state of our times and the wider polarised debate because it spills onto other universal themes such as gender and the patriarchal obsession on women's existence. It is time to accept that Islamophobia is not a Muslim problem.

This has always been about others; their reactions, fears and perceptions. Today it is the burkini, tomorrow there will be a war on everything remotely relating to Islam. France's secularist aspirations will remain deformed if it doesn't cap its own intolerance towards pluralistic identities."