Ex-Minister Nusrat Ghani says Muslim Faith was Sacking Reason

Former minister Nusrat Ghani said her Muslim faith was a reason for her sacking, accusing a government whip of addressing her faith.

Does The Conservative Party have a 'Muslimness' Problem f

“I felt humiliated and powerless."

Conservative politician Nusrat Ghani alleged that her Muslim faith was raised by a government whip as a reason why she was sacked as a minister in 2020.

She said that when she asked for an explanation, it was stated that her “Muslimness was raised as an issue”.

In 2018, Ms Ghani was appointed to a post at the Department for Transport, becoming the first female Muslim minister to speak in the Commons.

But she lost the job during a mini-reshuffle of Boris Johnson’s government in February 2020.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Ms Ghani claimed that when she asked for an explanation, a government whip said her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” during discussions about the reshuffle and her status as a “Muslim woman… was making colleagues uncomfortable”.

She said: “It was like being punched in the stomach.

“I felt humiliated and powerless.

“I was told that at the reshuffle meeting in Downing Street that ‘Muslimness’ was raised as an ‘issue’, that my ‘Muslim women minister’ status was making colleagues uncomfortable and that there were concerns that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations.

“When I challenged whether this was in any way acceptable and made clear there was little I could do about my identity, I had to listen to a monologue on how hard it was to define when people are being racist and that the party doesn’t have a problem and I needed to do more to defend it.

“It was very clear to me that the whips and No 10 were holding me to a higher threshold of loyalty than others because of my background and faith.”

Nusrat Ghani went on to say that she dropped the allegations after being told that if she “persisted”, she “would be ostracised and her career and reputation would be destroyed”.

Ms Ghani added:

“I raised it several more times through official party channels.”

“I was extremely careful to follow procedure, and when the procedure ran out of road, I had no choice but to get on with my career.”

Shortly after the allegations came to light, Conservative Chief Whip Mark Spencer said Ms Ghani was referring to him.

He said her claims were related to a meeting in March 2020.

In a series of tweets, Mr Spencer said:

“To ensure other whips are not drawn into this matter, I am identifying myself as the person Nusrat Ghani MP has made claims about.

“These accusations are completely false and I consider them to be defamatory. I have never used those words attributed to me.

“It is disappointing that when this issue was raised before Ms Ghani declined to refer the matter to the Conservative party for a formal investigation.

“When Ms Ghani raised them she was invited to use the formal CCHQ complaints procedure. She declined to do so.”

Downing Street said the PM had previously met with Ms Ghani to discuss her concerns.

A spokesperson said Boris Johnson “then wrote to her expressing his serious concern and inviting her to begin a formal complaint process. She did not subsequently do so. The Conservative Party does not tolerate prejudice or discrimination of any kind”.

Dominic Raab called the allegations “incredibly serious” and stated that Nusrat Ghani should make a formal complaint.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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