Former UK transport minister says she was fired for Muslim faith

Associated Press/Alberto Pezzali

A former British transport minister and Conservative member of parliament said she was fired from her role because of her Muslim faith.

Nusrat Ghani said she lost her job in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government because her “Muslimness” was “making colleagues uncomfortable,” according to the Sunday Times.

She said “there were concerns ‘that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations.’”

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

Chief Whip Mark Spencer denied the allegations on Twitter over the weekend, saying that Ghani’s claims were about him, The Associated Press reported.

“To ensure other Whips are not drawn into this matter, I am identifying myself as the person Nusrat Ghani MP has made claims about this evening. These accusations are completely false and I consider them to be defamatory. I have never used those words attributed to me,” he tweeted on Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said he met with Ghani in 2020 to discuss her concerns and offer the opportunity to file a formal complaint. However, Ghani did not do so, the AP added. 

In a statement, Ghani told the AP that Johnson said ​​“he could not get involved and suggested I use the internal Conservative Party complaint process.”

“All I have ever wanted was for his government to take this seriously, investigate properly and ensure no other colleague has to endure this,” she added.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi backed Ghani’s call for an investigation into the matter.

“There is no place for Islamophobia or any form of racism in our Conservative Party,” Zahawi tweeted. “Nus Ghani is a friend, a colleague and a brilliant parliamentarian. This has to be investigated properly and racism routed out.”

Johnson has been increasingly under fire lately following reports that he attended a party at his Downing Street office at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Johnson has since apologized for that gathering, but a conservative British lawmaker claimed last week that the government was trying to “blackmail” lawmakers who wanted the prime minister out of office.

Tags anti-Muslim Boris Johnson Discrimination Nusrat Ghani

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