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24th Jan 2022

Boris Johnson orders investigation into Nusrat Ghani ‘Muslimness’ allegations

Charlie Herbert

Boris Johnson orders inquiry into Nusrat Ghani allegations

Ghani has said she just wants to be ‘taken seriously’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into claims made by Tory MP Nusrat Ghani, who says she was sacked from a ministerial role because of her “Muslimness.”

The Conservative MP for Wealden has claimed that a government whip said her “Muslimness was raised as an issue”, and that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable.”

Conservative Chief Whip Mark Spencer, who identified himself as the person the MP was referencing, has categorically denied the claims, labelling them as “defamatory.”

Ghani has welcomed the decision for an inquiry, saying that all she wants is for the matter to be “taken seriously.”

Responding to news of the inquiry, she said: “As I said to the prime minister last night all I want is for this to be taken seriously and for him to investigate.

“I welcome his decision to do that now. The terms of reference of the inquiry must include all that was said in Downing Street and by the Whip. I look forward to seeing the terms of reference.”

A No 10 spokesperson said: “At the time these allegations were first made, the prime minister recommended to her that she make a formal complaint to CCHQ [Conservative Campaign Headquarters]. She did not take up this offer.

“The prime minister has now asked officials to establish the facts about what happened.

“As he said at the time, the prime minister takes these claims very seriously.”

Ghani has faced criticism from some members of the Tory Party for not making a formal complaint about the incident.

On Sunday, Dominic Raab told Sky News: “If there are any claims like this, they should result in a formal complaint which allows a formal investigation to take place, and as the Chief Whip has pointed out, Nusrat has not made a formal complaint. She was asked to do so.”

But Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has backed Ghani for not making a formal complaint, saying she should never have been asked to go through the party’s complaint process.

“This allegation relates to comments made in Downing Street, not Conservative headquarters; it relates to a job in government, not a job in the Conservative Party; the allegations were made by the chief whip, not by the chief executive or chairman of the party,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“This was not a party issue, this was a government issue.”

Baroness Warsi went on to say that Ghani’s experience had been an “open secret in Westminster, adding that she believed there was a “pattern” of Islamophobia within the party.

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