Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been accused of Islamophobia after saying Muslim women wearing burkas "look like letter boxes", BBC reported.

He said he was against bans on face-covering veils in public places, in his Telegraph column, but added that they looked "absolutely ridiculous".

The Muslim Council of Britain accused him of "pandering to the far right".

Labour MP Jess Phillips said she would report Mr Johnson to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The Muslim Council of Britain said the comments were "particularly regrettable in this current climate, where Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred is becoming worryingly pervasive".

He said he felt "fully entitled" to expect women to remove face coverings when talking to him at his MP surgery - and schools and universities should be able to take the same approach if a student "turns up... looking like a bank robber".

He said businesses and government agencies should be able to "enforce a dress code" that allowed them to see customers' faces.

But he said: "Such restrictions are not quite the same as telling a free-born adult woman what she may or may not wear, in a public place, when she is simply minding her own business."

He said a total ban on face-covering veils would give a boost to radicals who said there was a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West and could lead to "a general crackdown on any public symbols of religious affiliation".