My ‘Muslim’ is a problem, says fired UK minister


© Reuters. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly question time debate at Parliament in London, England, January 19, 2022.Handout by UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Reuters


Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) – A British MP said she was sacked from a ministerial position in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government partly because her Muslim beliefs made colleagues uncomfortable, the Sunday Times reported. Comfortable.

Allegations fuel unrest Johnson’s government is facing COVID-19 Party at the Downing Street office during lockdown.

Nusrat Ghani, 49, who lost her job as junior transport minister in February 2020, told the paper that a “whip” – the enforcer of parliamentary discipline – told her she The “Muslim” has been raised as a question. her dismissal.

The government’s chief whip, Mark Spencer, said he was at the heart of Ghani’s allegations.

“These allegations are completely false and I consider them defamatory,” he said on Twitter (NYSE: ). “I never used the words that were attributed to me.”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said on Sunday that Johnson had met Ghani in July 2020 to discuss the “extremely serious” allegations.

“He then wrote to her expressing his serious concerns and inviting her to begin a formal complaint process,” the spokesman said. “She didn’t do that later.”

“The Conservative Party does not tolerate prejudice or discrimination of any kind.”

Ghani responded that the Conservative Party’s complaints process was “very clearly inappropriate” because her dismissal was related to her position in government, not within the party.

She added in a statement: “This is not the time for me to choose to let this out, I have pursued every avenue and process I think could be used, but many people know what happened.”

Ghani’s allegations come after one of her Conservative colleagues said he would meet with police to discuss allegations that the government whip was trying to “blackmail” lawmakers who allegedly tried to force Johnson out of office.

The scandals have drained Johnson’s personal and his party’s public support, bringing him the worst crisis of his tenure as prime minister.

Colleagues ‘uncomfortable’

“I was told that ‘Muslim’ was raised as an ‘issue’ at the Downing Street reshuffle meeting and that my ‘Muslim women minister’ status made colleagues uncomfortable,” Ghani was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“I’m not going to pretend this hasn’t shaken my confidence in the party, I sometimes seriously consider whether to stay in MP (MP).”

In his response, Spencer said Ghani declined to conduct a formal internal investigation into the matter.

The Conservative Party has faced Islamophobia charges before, and a report last May criticized its handling of complaints of discrimination against Muslims.

The report also led Johnson to issue a qualified apology for any offense caused by his past remarks about Islam, including his newspaper column calling women in burqas “walking around looking like letter boxes”.

Kirstarmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said the Conservatives must immediately investigate Ghani’s claims.

“This is shocking to read,” he tweeted.

Extortion charges

Ghani’s comments about the act of whipping echo allegations last week by another senior Conservative MP, William Ruger, that some of his colleagues have faced intimidation and blackmail for wanting to overthrow Johnson.

He told The Telegraph he would meet with police early next week to discuss his allegations.

Johnson said he had neither seen nor heard any evidence to support Rager’s claims. His office said it would review any such evidence “very carefully”.

Johnson, who won the party’s largest majority in more than 30 years in 2019, is struggling to cement his authority in the wake of the “Partygate” scandal, which has been criticized for the government’s handling of corruption disputes and other missteps.

Senior public servant Sugrey is expected to deliver a report to all parties next week, with many Conservative MPs saying they will wait for her findings before deciding whether to move to overthrow Johnson.

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