Mon. May 23rd, 2022

Nusrat Ghani, a former junior transport minister, says her Muslim faith has made her colleagues uncomfortable.

A British MP says she was fired from a ministerial post in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government in part because her Muslim faith made colleagues uncomfortable, according to the Sunday Times newspaper.

Forty-nine-year-old Nusrat Ghani, who lost her job as a junior transport minister in February 2020, told the newspaper she was told by a whip – an enforcer of parliamentary discipline – that her “Muslimness” if an issue has been raised. .

“I was told at the Downing Street reshuffle meeting that ‘Muslimness’ was raised as an ‘issue’, that my ‘Muslim woman minister’ status makes colleagues uncomfortable,” the newspaper Ghani, Britain’s first female Muslim minister, said. quoted. say.

“I will not pretend that it did not shake my faith in the party and I sometimes seriously considered whether I should continue as MP.”

There was no immediate response to her comments from the prime minister’s office, but Mark Spencer, the government’s chief whip, said he was the person at the center of Ghani’s allegations.

“These accusations are completely false and I consider them defamatory,” he said on Twitter. “I have never used those words that have been attributed to me.”

Spencer said in his reply that Ghani had refused to put the matter to a formal internal inquiry when she first raised the issue last March.

Ghani’s remarks come after William Wragg, one of her Conservative colleagues, accused government whips of trying to blackmail MPs who tried to force Johnson out of office over public outrage over parties held during COVID restrictions at his Downing Street office. was held.

The scandals have drained the public support of both Johnson personally and his party, putting him facing the most serious crisis of his premiership.

Johnson said he saw or heard no evidence to support Wragg’s allegations. His office said he would look at any such evidence “very carefully”.

British Prime Minister Boris JohnsonScandals have drained public support from both Johnson personally and his party [File: Reuters]

Accusations of Islamophobia

The Conservative Party has previously faced accusations of Islamophobia, and a report in May last year criticized it for handling complaints of discrimination against Muslims.

The report led Johnson to apologize qualifiedly for any wrongdoing caused by his previous remarks on Islam, including a newspaper column in which he referred to women wearing burqas as “walking around and looking like letterboxes”.

Keir Starmer, leader of the Labor opposition, said the Conservatives should investigate Ghani’s account immediately.

“It’s shocking to read,” he said on Twitter.

Ghani’s remarks about the whips’ behavior reflect the allegations made by Wragg.

“Nus is very brave to speak out. I was really shocked to hear about her experience, “Wragg said on Twitter on Saturday. He told the Daily Telegraph that he would meet with police early next week to discuss his allegations.

“As with any such allegations, should a criminal offense be reported to the Met, it will be considered,” a London Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

Johnson, who won his party’s largest majority in more than 30 years in 2019, is fighting to strengthen his authority following the “party hole” scandals, which followed criticism of the government’s handling of corruption and other missteps.

He repeatedly apologized to the parties, saying he was unaware of many of them, but admitted he attended what he said was a job creation on May 20 last year, when social mixing was largely banned. Invitations prompted staff to “bring their own drinks” to the event.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is expected to report on the lock-up parties next week, with many Conservative MPs saying they will wait for her findings before deciding whether to take action to overthrow Johnson.

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