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Labour calls for independent inquiry into Tory Party Islamophobia row

LABOUR has demanded a probe into whether discrimination laws were broken in the Islamophobia row engulfing the Tory Party.

Shadow equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds called for an independent inquiry today into allegations that Tory MP Nusrat Ghani was sacked as transport minister in February 2020 because her “Muslimness was raised as an issue.”

Ms Ghani said she was also told that her status as a Muslim woman was making Tory colleagues uncomfortable.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed today to an inquiry into the allegations made by Ms Ghani, having initially said that the former minister would first have to make a formal complaint.

Chief Whip Mark Spencer, also at the heart of allegations about Tory MPs being bullied to prop up the premiership of Mr Johnson, identified himself as the person being referred to by Ms Ghani. 

He strongly denied the allegations, describing them as defamatory.

Ms Ghani welcomed the decision that her complaints would now be investigated but insisted “the terms of reference of the inquiry must include all that was said in Downing Street and by the whip.”

Ms Dodds insisted that it does not “replace the need for an immediate investigation into whether the chief whip broke the ministerial code.”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has written to the independent adviser on ministers’ interests, Lord Geidt.

She said: “The ministerial code is crystal clear that discrimination will not be tolerated and it is the job of the adviser on ministerial interests to investigate.”

Senior Tory Baroness Warsi, a long-time critic of Islamophobia within her party, has added her voice to calls by the Muslim Council of Britain for the case to be referred to the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as “the government might have broken the law."

The council’s secretary-general Zara Mohammed said the allegations of Islamophobia in the Tory Party were “shocking but not surprising,” as this was the latest in a string of cases exposed by his organisation and others.

Ms Mohammed said it was “now time for the EHRC to carry out a full inquiry.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has also called for the EHRC to investigate.

He said a failure by the Conservatives to allow an independent investigation into allegations of Islamophobia in the party would “stink of a cover-up.” 

The Muslim MSP, who led a Holyrood inquiry into Islamophobia in Scotland, said hate and prejudice is rampant in all parts of society.

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