Tory peer Baroness Warsi blasts ‘institutional’ Islamophobia in party as 14 members are suspended

A senior Tory peer has demanded an independent inquiry into “institutional” Islamophobia in the party.

Former minister Baroness Warsi warned the party’s failure to address the issue risked damaging Conservative chances at the next election.

Lady Warsi, who was the first Muslim woman to have a seat at the Cabinet table, said there was a “deep-rooted problem” in the party and Theresa May had failed to act.

Her intervention came after it emerged 14 Conservative members were suspended from the party over alleged Islamophobic comments on a Facebook page called the “Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group”.

Meanwhile, Tory council candidate Peter Lamb, who was due to stand in Harlow, Essex, quit over past social media comments on Islam. In 2015, he had tweeted: “Islam like alcoholism [sic]. The first step to recovery is admit you have a problem.”

Lady Warsi told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: “We have a deep-rooted problem of anti-Muslim comments, Islamophobic comments, racist comments that have been made right from the top: from MPs through to councillors, council candidates, members, linked groups.

“I think it has now gone beyond [an internal inquiry] and we need an independent inquiry.

“We cannot have a situation where a mainstream political party is sending out a message in the way it is acting that certain parts of our country, certain communities in our country, certain citizens in our country, are simply not welcome in our party and therefore are creating this environment in which, sadly, I think we will feel the impact at the next election.”

A party spokesman said: “This Facebook group is in no way affiliated with the Conservative Party and many of the people identified on it are not party members.

“However we have identified some people who are party members and they have been immediately suspended, pending further investigation.

“When we find evidence of members making offensive or inappropriate comments, we consistently take decisive action. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong and will not be tolerated.”

Reporting by Press Association.


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