Jan 23, 2022: According to the Sunday Times Newspaper, a British MP says he was fired from her ministry in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government because her Muslim faith was disturbing her colleagues.
Nusrat Ghani, 49, who lost her job as junior transport minister in February 2020, February 2020, told the Sunday Times she was told by a whip – an enforcer of parliamentary discipline – that her “Muslimness” had been raised as an issue.
“I was told that at the reshuffle meeting in Downing Street that ‘Muslimness’ was raised as an ‘issue’, that my ‘Muslim woman minister’ status was making colleagues uncomfortable,” the paper quoted Ghani, Britain’s first female Muslim minister, as saying.
“I will not pretend that this hasn’t shaken my faith in the party and I have at times seriously considered whether to continue as an MP.”
The prime minister’s office did not immediately return a call for comment, but Mark Spencer, the government’s chief whip, who was at the center of Ghani’s allegations said, “These allegations are completely false and I consider them defamatory, I never used words that are attributed to me.” He said on Twitter.
In his response, Spencer said Ghani had refused to include the matter in a formal internal investigation when he first raised the issue last March.
Ghani’s remarks come after William Wragg, one of her Conservative colleagues, accused government whips of attempting to blackmail MPs trying to force Johnson from office over public anger about parties held at his Downing Street office during COVID lockdowns.
The scandals have eroded public support for Johnson, both personally and from his party, which has presented him with the most serious crisis of his prime ministership. Johnson said he had neither seen nor heard any evidence to support Wragg’s claims. His office said it would look into any such evidence “very carefully.”
The Conservative Party has previously faced allegations of Islamophobia and was criticized in a report in May last year for its handling of complaints of discrimination against Muslims. The report compelled Johnson to apologize for any offenses he may have committed as a result of his past comments on Islam, including a newspaper column in which he called women wearing burqas “letterboxes.”
The main opposition leader, Keir Starmer, said the Conservatives should immediately investigate Ghani’s account.
Johnson, who in 2019 won his party’s biggest majority in more than 30 years, is fighting to shore up his authority after the “partygate” scandals, which followed criticism of the government’s handling of a corruption row and other missteps.
He has repeatedly apologized to the parties and said he was unaware of many of them, but admitted that he attended what he thought was a work event on May 20 last year, when Social mixing was largely forbidden. The invitation asked staff to “bring their own wine” to the event.
Senior government employee Sue Gray is expected to present a report next week on the lockdown parties, with many Conservative MPs saying they would wait for the results before deciding to take any action to oust Johnson.
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