Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden, claims a whip told her her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” during a meeting at Downing Street. She was sacked as a transport minister in February 2020
A Tory MP has accused a Government whip of telling her she was sacked from her ministerial post because her Muslim faith was “making colleagues uncomfortable”.
Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden, was let go as a transport minister in February 2020.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, she claimed she was told her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” during a meeting at Downing Street.
She also said the whip told her that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable” and questioned her loyalty to the Party.
Ghani 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’.
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“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.”
After Ghani’s interview was published, Government Chief Whip Mark Spencer took to Twitter to identify himself as the person behind the MP’s claims.
In one now-deleted tweet, he wrote: “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.”
Ghani’s comments come as the conduct of the whips’ office remains under intense scrutiny amid accusations they used intimidation and blackmail to pressure MPs seeking to oust Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
William Wragg, the senior Tory who first raised the issue and chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, praised Ghani’s courage in speaking out.
He said: “Nus is very brave to speak out. I was truly appalled to learn of her experience. She shows such strength and integrity supporting others.
“I am proud to have her as my friend and colleague. We must change things for the better.”
Wragg will be meeting a Scotland Yard detective in the House of Commons early next week to discuss his own claims.
He told The Daily Telegraph he would outline “several” examples of bullying and intimidation, in some cases involving public money.
Fellow Tory MP and former minister Steve Baker also described Ghani’s treatment as “completely intolerable” and suggested her claims be investigated further.
He tweeted this evening: “I value Nus Ghani as a great colleague and I’m appalled. We must get to the bottom of it.”
Mirror Online has contacted No10 for comment.