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Boris Johnson orders investigation into anti-Muslim discrimination in his party

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street, in London, Britain, January 19, 2022. REUTERS/John Sibley

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, has ordered an investigation into accusations made by a lawmaker who claimed she was sacked from a government cabinet role in part because her Muslim faith made colleagues uncomfortable.

What they’re saying: Nusrat Ghani, 49, who was fired as a junior transport minister in February 2020, told the Sunday Times that a “whip” – a parliamentary discipline enforcer – told her that her “Muslimness” was a factor in her dismissal.

FILE PHOTO: MP Nusrat Ghani speaks during a session in Parliament in London, Britain May 12, 2021. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS
  • “The Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Office to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made by Nusrat Ghani MP,” Downing Street said.
  • “As he said at the time, the Prime Minister takes these claims very seriously.”
  • Mark Spencer, the government’s senior whip, claimed to be the subject of Ghani’s charges. They were absolutely false and defamatory, he claimed.
  • “I have never used those words attributed to me,” he said.
Chief Whip of the House of Commons Mark Spencer arrives outside Downing Street in London, Britain, January 18, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The backstory: In July 2020, Johnson met with Ghani to examine the “very serious” allegations, according to a representative for the prime minister’s office.

  • When the claims were originally made, Johnson advised her to file a formal complaint with the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, according to Downing Street.
  • She did not take up this offer.
  • Ghani made the charge after one of her Conservative colleagues indicated he would meet with police to explore allegations that government whips tried to “blackmail” legislators suspected of attempting to force Johnson out of office over lockdown parties.
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