PM orders investigation into ‘Muslimness’ sacking claim

PM orders investigation into ‘Muslimness’ sacking claim

The Prime Minister has ordered an inquiry into claims made by a Muslim MP who says her faith was given as a reason for her sacking as a minister in 2020.

Nusrat Ghani said a government whip told her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” during the 2020 cabinet reshuffle.

Conservative Chief Whip Mark Spencer said the claims were completely false and that her allegations are defamatory.

Responding to news of the inquiry, Ms Ghani shared a statement to Twitter: “As I said to the prime minister last night all I want is for this to be taken seriously and for him to investigate.

“I welcome his decision to do that now. The terms of reference of the inquiry must include all that was said in Downing Street and by the whip.”

A No 10 spokesperson said: “At the time these allegations were first made, the prime minister recommended to her that she make a formal complaint to CCHQ [Conservative Campaign Headquarters]. She did not take up this offer.

“The prime minister has now asked officials to establish the facts about what happened.

“As he said at the time, the prime minister takes these claims very seriously.”

Speaking on Sunday, Ms Ghani said when she had not used the Conservative Party’s internal process because it was “very clearly not appropriate for something that happened on government business”.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said it was “important” for the inquiry to go ahead, adding that Ms Ghani was a “valued colleague”.

He told BBC Breakfast he hoped she would present evidence to the Cabinet Office, adding that it had taken “a lot of bravery” to make the allegations.

The new inquiry comes at the beginning of what could be a difficult week for the prime minister, with the expected completion of a report into gatherings on government premises that took place when coronavirus restrictions were in place.

Mr Johnson has faced calls from some of his MPs to resign over the matter, but others say they are withholding judgement until the findings of Sue Gray’s report are published.

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.