Outpouring of solidarity for Nusrat Ghani after claims she was sacked as a minister over her 'Muslimness'

Outpouring of solidarity for Nusrat Ghani after claims she was sacked as a minister over her 'Muslimness'
Nusrat Ghani Islamophobia claims won’t be looked at until ‘she makes a ...
Sky News

Tory MP Nusrat Ghani has received an outpouring of solidarity after she claimed that she was sacked as a minister because she is a Muslim.

The 49-year-old, who had previously held a post at the Department for Transport in 2018, was the first Muslim woman to ever speak in the House of Commons.

However, in a report by The Sunday Times, it is claimed that Ghani lost her role in a 2020 mini-reshuffle because of her faith. When Ghani asked a government whip why she was being moved on from the role, she was told that "Muslimness was raised as an issue" and that her status as a "Muslim woman... was making colleagues uncomfortable."

Ghani, who has served as the MP for Wealden since 2015, was reportedly told if she continued to pursue the issue she "would be ostracised and her career and reputation would be destroyed.

"I raised it several more times through official party channels.... I was extremely careful to follow procedure, and when the procedure ran out of road I had no choice but to get on with my career."

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

On Saturday evening, chief whip, Mark Spencer identified himself as the person that Ghani's claims are about but denied the accusations calling them "completely false and defamatory." He added that it was "disappointing" that the matter was not referred to the Conservative party for a formal investigation.

Since the report was published many figures from across the political spectrum have spoken out and showed their solidarity to Ghani, calling the alleged treatment she received "disgusting."

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab has said there will be no “specific investigation” into a claim by a Tory MP that she was told she had been fired as a minister due to concerns about her “Muslimness.”

Mr Raab said that while Ms Ghani’s allegation was “incredibly serious” there would be no investigation by the Conservative Party unless she submitted a formal complaint, which she has not done.

“He (Mr Spencer) has categorically denied it in what can only be described as the most forthright and robust terms indeed,” Mr Raab told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme.

“If there are any claims like this they should result in a formal complaint which allows a formal investigation to take place.

“As the chief whip has pointed out, Nus hasn’t made a formal complaint. She was asked to do so. In the absence of doing so there will be no specific investigation into this.”

Downing Street has since said that Boris Johnson met with Nusrat Ghani to discuss her “extremely serious claims” that she was sacked as a minister because of concerns about her “Muslimness.”

A No 10 spokesman said in a statement that the Prime Minister invited her to make a formal complaint but she did not do so.“After being made aware of these extremely serious claims, the Prime Minister met with Nusrat Ghani to discuss them,” the spokesman said.

“He then wrote to her expressing his serious concern and inviting her to begin a formal complaint process. She did not subsequently do so. “The Conservative Party does not tolerate prejudice or discrimination of any kind.”

Labour's shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry has called for the Tories to hold an independent inquiry into Islamophobia. Speaking to Times Radio, Thornberry added that the Conservative Party “just don’t take Islamophobia in their midst seriously”.

She added: “I would like to see an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory Party in the same way that we quite rightly held an independent inquiry into the poison that is anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.”

Ghani has since said she was told by Boris Johnson that he could not get involved after she spoke to him about her claim she was sacked as a minister because of concerns over her “Muslimness”.

In a statement the MP said: “When I told the Prime Minister in June 2020 what had been said to me in the Government Whips’ Office I urged him to take it seriously as a Government matter and instigate an inquiry.

“He wrote to me that he could not get involved and suggested I use the internal Conservative Party complaint process.

“This, as I had already pointed out, was very clearly not appropriate for something that happened on Government business – I do not even know if the words that were conveyed to me about what was said in reshuffle meetings at Downing Street were by members of the Conservative Party.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

The Conversation (0)