Fired over 'Muslimness', claims UK ex-minister

Fired over 'Muslimness', claims UK ex-minister

Nusrat Ghani

LONDON, January 23

A British lawmaker has said she was fired from a ministerial job in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative government partly because her Muslim faith was making colleagues uncomfortable, a newspaper reported.

More trouble for johnson govt

The Conservative Party has previously faced accusations of Islamophobia, and a report in May last year criticised it over how it dealt with complaints of discrimination against Muslims.

The allegation added to the turmoil Johnson's government is facing over parties held at his Downing Street office during Covid lockdowns.

Nusrat Ghani, 49, who lost her job as a junior transport minister in February 2020, told the paper that she had been told by a "whip", an enforcer of parliamentary discipline, that her "Muslimness" had been raised as an issue in her sacking. The government's chief whip, Mark Spencer, said he was the person at the centre of Ghani's allegations.

"These accusations are completely false and I consider them to be defamatory," he said on Twitter. "I have never used those words attributed to me." Johnson met Ghani to discuss the "extremely serious" claims in July 2020, a spokesperson from the PM's office said on Sunday.

"He then wrote to her expressing his serious concern and inviting her to begin a formal complaint process," the spokesperson said. "She did not subsequently do so. The Conservative Party does not tolerate prejudice or discrimination of any kind," he said. Ghani's remarks come after one of her Conservative colleagues said he would meet police to discuss accusations that government whips had attempted to "blackmail" lawmakers suspected of trying to force Johnson from office over the lockdown parties. The scandals have drained public support from both Johnson personally and his party, presenting him with the most serious crisis of his premiership.

Spencer said Ghani had declined to put the matter to a formal internal probe when she first raised the issue. — Reuters

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