British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a probe into Former Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani's claim that she was fired from a government job in part because of her Muslim faith.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered an investigation into a Conservative lawmaker’s claim that she was fired from a government job in part because of her Muslim faith.
Johnson said on Monday he was taking Former Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani's allegations of Islamophobia "extremely seriously."
His office said that the prime minister asked government officials “to establish the facts about what happened.”
Ghani told the Sunday Times that when she was demoted in 2020, a government whip said her “Muslimness” was “making colleagues uncomfortable.”
She said “there were concerns ‘that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations.’”
Chief Whip Mark Spencer identified himself as the person who spoke to Ghani in 2020, but called her allegation “completely false.”
My response to No10 announcement pic.twitter.com/Y3NOqQAk5G— Nus Ghani MP (@Nus_Ghani) January 24, 2022
First female Muslim lawmaker
Ghani was elected to Parliament in 2015 — the Conservatives’ first female Muslim lawmaker — and was made a junior minister in 2018.
At the time her boss, then Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, said it was proof the Conservatives “were a party of opportunity.”
But some have accused the party of failing to stamp out anti-Muslim prejudice under Johnson, who in 2018 compared women who wear face-covering veils to “letter boxes.”
Two senior Cabinet ministers, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, spoke in support of Ghani and said her claims must be investigated.
“It takes a lot of bravery for someone to stand up and say: ‘My religion was taken into consideration when I was being assessed for what I do as a job,’” Zahawi said.
“That should never happen and there is no room for it.”
Ghani’s claim has deepened the rifts roiling Johnson’s governing party, which is being wracked by allegations about lockdown-breaching parties in the prime minister’s office.