UK minister’s sacking over ‘Muslimness’ to be investigated
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a formal inquiry into an allegation by former junior transport minister Nusrat Ghani that she lost her job in early 2020 because she’s Muslim.
Johnson “takes these claims very seriously” and has “asked the Cabinet Office to conduct an inquiry” into them, Downing Street said in a statement on Monday.
When Ghani first made the allegation two years ago, the PM “recommended to her that she make a formal complaint to [Conservative Party headquarters]. She did not take up this offer,” the statement pointed out.
“The Prime Minister has now asked officials to establish the facts about what happened.”
Tory MP Ghani has told the Sunday Times that a government whip had said that her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” before her firing from the post of junior transport minister in February 2020.
“It was like being punched in the stomach,” the 49-year-old recalled, adding that hearing that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable” made her feel “humiliated and powerless.”
In a separate statement on Sunday, Ghani said that Johnson had told her two years ago that he “could not get involved” in the issue and did suggest she resort to the Tories’ internal complaint process. She explained that she decided not to follow the premier’s advice as it was “very clearly not appropriate for something that happened on government business.”
“All I have ever wanted was for his government to take this seriously, investigate properly and ensure no other colleague has to endure this,” the MP for East Sussex insisted.
The Conservative chief whip Mark Spencer said that he was likely the one whom Ghani blames for making the remarks in question, and took to Twitter to defend himself.
“I have never used those words attributed to me,” Spencer wrote, while labeling the accusations as “completely false” and “defamatory.”