Boris Johnson has ordered a Cabinet Office investigation into Nusrat Ghani’s Islamophobia claims and insisted he is taking the issue “extremely seriously” after a row engulfed the Conservative Party over the weekend.
Ms Ghani had accused Boris Johnson of failing to take her concerns “seriously” when she reported the matter to him directly in July 2020.
This came after she lost her job as a transport minister in a reshuffle in February 2020, claiming she was told after being sacked that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable”.
Ms Ghani also said she had been told “that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations”.
Mark Spencer, the Chief Whip, took the rare step of outing himself as the subject of the claims, which first appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper, and categorically denied them.
“These accusations are completely false and I consider them to be defamatory,” Mr Spencer wrote. “I have never used those words attributed to me.”
Responding to the claims on Monday, the Prime Minister said: “We take these allegations extremely seriously, I took them very seriously when they were raised with me 18 months ago… very glad there’s an investigation taking place now.”
Asked if Mr Spencer could stay in post while the investigation was conducted, Mr Johnson dodged the question, saying: “This is something I take personally extremely seriously, I took it very seriously 18 months ago, we must wait and see what the investigation produces.”