Chief whip comes forward as person behind ‘Muslimness’ sacking claim

Mark Spencer, the chief whip, has said a Conservative MP was referring to him when she accused a member of government of telling her she had been sacked from her ministerial post because her Muslim faith was “making colleagues uncomfortable”.

Boris Johnson faces calls for an inquiry into Nusrat Ghani’s claim in an interview with the Sunday Times 그, when she lost her job as a transport minister, she was told that “Muslimness” had been raised as an problem at a meeting in Downing Street.

“It was like being punched in the stomach,” said the MP for Wealden, who was sacked in a mini-reshuffle in February 2020 after the resignation of Sajid Javid as chancellor. “I felt humiliated and powerless. I was told that at the reshuffle meeting in Downing Street that ‘Muslimness’ was raised as an ‘issue’, that my ‘Muslim women minister’ status was making colleagues uncomfortable and that there were concerns that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations.

“When I challenged whether this was in any way acceptable and made clear there was little I could do about my identity, I had to listen to a monologue on how hard it was to define when people are being racist and that the party doesn’t have a problem and I needed to do more to defend it.

“It was very clear to me that the whips and No 10 were holding me to a higher threshold of loyalty than others because of my background and faith.”

A few hours after the story was published, Spencer tweeted: “To ensure other whips are not drawn into this matter, I am identifying myself as the person Nusrat Ghani MP has made claims about.

“These accusations are completely false and I consider them to be defamatory. I have never used those words attributed to me.”

Spencer added: “It is disappointing that when this issue was raised before Ms Ghani declined to refer the matter to the Conservative party for a formal investigation.”

He said the claims relate to a meeting in March 2020.

“When Ms Ghani raised them she was invited to use the formal CCHQ complaints procedure. She declined to do so,” Mr Spencer 누군가 이것을 시도할 것입니다 – 나는 그것이 적대적인 정부인지 아니면 내 자신의 정부인지 확신할 수 없었습니다..

Nadhim Zahawi has called for an investigation into the claims. “There is no place for Islamophobia or any form of racism in our Conservative party,” the education secretary said. “Nus Ghani is a friend, a colleague and a brilliant parliamentarian.

“This has to be investigated properly and racism rooted out.”

The comments come as the conduct of the whips’ office is under intense scrutiny amid accusations they used intimidation and blackmail to pressurise MPs seeking to oust Boris Johnson as prime minister.

The senior Tory who first raised the allegation, William Wragg – the chair of the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee – praised Ghani’s courage in speaking out.

“Nus is very brave to speak out,” he tweeted. “I was truly appalled to learn of her experience. She shows such strength and integrity supporting others.”

A spokesperson for the whips’ office said the allegations were “categorically untrue” and that the Conservative party did not tolerate racism or discrimination.

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