Nusrat Ghani: Cabinet Office probe into leading MP fired over her ‘Muslimness’

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The Prime Minister said he has ordered an “immediate” Cabinet Office inquiry, 18 months after he was alerted to Nusrat Ghani’s claim. She said she had been told her ministerial exit in 2020 was linked to her “Muslimness”.

Mr Johnson said he wants the Cabinet Office to “establish the facts” regarding Ms Ghani’s allegations of Islamophobia.

She has welcomed the inquiry, saying all she wants is for the matter to be taken seriously. Mr Johnson said: “We take these allegations extremely seriously, I took them very seriously when they were raised with me 18 months ago…very glad there’s an investigation taking place now.

‘Islamophobic not viewed as other forms action is “I can’t say more, really, about it.” Ms Ghani claimed she was told by a Government whip that her faith made colleagues “uncomfortable” and that her career would be “destroyed” if she tried to complain.

Chief Whip Mark Spencer confirmed he had spoken to her but strongly denied making the alleged comments.Asked whether Mr Spencer could stay in his post while the investigation was conducted, Mr Johnson said: “We must wait and see what the investigation produces.”

Ms Ghani, the MP for Wealden in East Sussex, has called for the scope of the probe to include what was said between her and “the whip” in Downing Street.

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Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said it was “important” for the inquiry to go ahead, adding that Ms Ghani was a “valued colleague”. He told BBC Breakfast that it had taken “a lot of bravery” to make the allegations.

Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi – who has frequently spoken about Islamophobia in her party – said Ms Ghani should never have been asked to go through the party’s complaint process.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today show: “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.

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

Baroness Warsi, the former party chair, said that she believed there was a “pattern” in the Conservative Party, where “Islamophobic racism is not viewed as seriously as other forms of racism” and “action is rarely taken until the media is involved”.

She called for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to intervene, arguing the Government might have broken the law.

No10 has said that when Ms Ghani made the allegations, the Prime Minister recommended that she make a formal complaint to Conservative Campaign Headquarters. Ms Ghani said she had not done this because it was “very clearly not appropriate for something that happened on Government business”.

She lost her job at the Department for

Transport in a mini-reshuffle in February 2020, after two years.

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