Tories Divided Over 'Mediocre' Ex-Minister Who Claimed She Was Sacked for Being Muslim

© REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLS / News conference for the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) update, in LondonNews conference for the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) update, in London
News conference for the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) update, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.01.2022
While PM Boris Johnson's cabinet is by far the most ethnically-diverse in British history, including the first Asian and Muslim cabinet ministers, his Conservative Party has previously faced allegations of Islamophobia.
Conservative MPs are divided over former junior minister Nus Ghani claim's she was sacked for her "Muslim-ness".
Nus Ghani told the The Times that an un-named government whip told her she had lost her job as junior transport minister in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's February 2020 reshuffle because her status as Britain's first Muslim woman junior minister "was making colleagues uncomfortable".
Tory Chief Whip Mark Spencer revealed on Saturday that Ghani had made the accusation to him in March 2020, but did not make an official complaint despite his invitation to her to do so.
Ghani responded in a statement on Sunday, arguing the internal party complaints process was not "appropriate" to deal with an issue in government.
Backbench Johnson loyalist Michael Fabricant had plenty of criticism for Ghani and her allegations, not least pointing out that there were currently two "excellent" senior Muslim ministers in the cabinet.
Fabricant stressed he had never known nor cared what faith Ghani was until he heard her claims, but called her "unimaginative and mediocre" and implied she had timed her revelation add to pressure on the embattled PM to resign.
Fabricant also re-tweeted a counter-claim that Ghani was sacked for misleading Parliament about huge budget over-runs on the HS2 high-speed rail project.
South Thanet MP Craig MacKinlay tweeted WhatsApp messages from a reporter for The Times — which broke the story of Ghani's claims — who he said was on a “fishing operation” for allegations against the Whip’s Office.
FILE PHOTO: British PM Johnson speaks during the weekly question time debate at Parliament in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.01.2022
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But both the cabinet's Muslim ministers, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, tweeted in support of Ghani and condemning Islamophobia.
And Wycombe MP Steve Baker, former chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, also backed Ghani — although he later re-tweeted Spencer's rebuttal.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab Told Sky News' Trevor Phillips on Sunday morning that Ghani's allegations were "incredibly serious," but insisted his party had "zero tolerance for discrimination or Islamophobia."
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