Ghani and Spencer: Tories choose sides in the ‘Muslimness row’ 

Ghani team

Nadhim Zhawi says: “There’s no room for Islamophobia and any other form of racism within our Conservative party. Nusrat Ghani is a friend, a colleague & a brilliant parliamentarian. This has to be investigated properly & racism routed out.’

Sajid Javid said: “This is a serious matter that requires a thorough investigation. She must be heard and I strongly support her making a formal complaint.

Caroline Nokes: I was extremely proud of Nus’s first appearance at the despatch switch as a female Muslim minister. It was a testimony to the progress of our party and parliament. Hearing about her struggles over the years is harrowing.

Steve Baker: ‘That Nus could be treated like this is completely intolerable. She is a wonderful colleague, and she’s a huge asset to me. It must be stopped. 

Spencer team 

Mark Spencer “These accusations are false. I believe them to be defamatory. I never spoke those words. 

Dominic Raab:  ‘If there are any claims like this they should result in a formal complaint which allows a formal investigation to take place. The chief whip pointed out that Nus hadn’t filed a formal complaint. This was her request. She was not asked to do so. There will be no investigation.

Downing Street: ‘After being made aware of these extremely serious claims, the Prime Minister met with Nusrat Ghani to discuss them.  He wrote to her, expressing concern about the situation and asking her to initiate a formal process to complain. She didn’t do it.

A Tory MP has sparked anger after he said former minister Nusrat Ghani who claimed she was sacked because of her ‘Muslimness’ was ‘hardly someone who is obviously a Muslim’. 

Michael Fabricant claimed that the time of the claims by the former transport minister was’very suspicious’ and said it was connected to efforts to eliminate Boris Johnson in the Downing Street lockdown scandal. 

He claimed that Ms. Ghani didn’t “obviously” identify herself as Muslim. It was also ‘foolish’ to suggest that she was fired from her post in 2020.   

After Ms. Ghani had alleged that Mark Spencer was her chief whip, Spencer made the comment.  

No10 said she made the claim to the PM at the time, but refused an invitation for an investigation. Their version of events was contradicted by Ms Ghani, who claimed that the PM declined to take part and attempted to feign her.     

Today, Labour described Mr Fabricant’s comments as ‘shameful’ and called for the Conservative whip to be withdrawn.

Fabricant stated that the timing was interesting when he spoke on LBC. All this may be because Boris Johnson is open to criticism, which puts pressure on Johnson from within the party to quit.

Nus Ghani said, “I believe the entire thing really stinks.”

“She is not a Muslim. It was not clear to me what her religion is. To me, it seems a ridiculous excuse that she was dismissed for that.

David Lammy, Shadow Foreign Secretary, tweeted in response: “What an appalling and disgraceful thing you say.”

“If the Tories want to prove that they are serious in tackling Islamophobia they can start with removing Michael Fabricant’s whip.”

Anneliese Dodds chair Labour Party said that Ms Ghani had made a terrible claim and the Tories responded in a shameful manner.

“For Michael Fabricant to be a Conservative MP and make comments on radio that mirror exactly the kind of unacceptable behavior Nusrat has brought up shows how serious the problem is in the Conservative Party,” she stated.

Ms. Ghani received support from Education Nadhimzahawi (the two highest ranking Muslims in the Cabinet) and Sajid Javid (Health Secretary).

Both men took to Twitter to show support for her and to demand an in-depth investigation of her allegations against Spencer.                

He identified himself last night as the whip involved and denigrated Ms Ghani’s comments as ‘false’ and ‘defamatory. Dominic Raab from the Justice Department also stood by to defend the party.

Javid stated that Ms. Ghani was “a credit to Conservative Party”, adding, “This is a serious matter and requires a proper investigation.” She must be heard and I strongly support her making a formal complaint.

He tweeted that Mr Zahawi had made an intervention: “There’s no place in the Conservative party for islamophobia and any other form of racism.” Nusrat Ghani is a friend, a colleague & a brilliant parliamentarian. This has to be investigated properly & racism routed out. #standwithNus’ . 

Michael Fabricant has sparked anger after he said the timing of the former transport minister's claim was 'very suspicious'

Michael Fabricant has caused anger by claiming that the claim of former transport minister Michael Fabricant was made at a’very suspicious’ time.

Nusrat Ghani (pictured), the Tory MP for Wealden in East Sussex, was sacked as transport minister in February 2020 as part of a mini-cabinet reshuffle

Nusrat Khani (pictured), Tory MP for Wealden, East Sussex was fired as transport minister as part of a minicabinet restructuring in February 2020.

Mark Spencer outed himself as the whip concerned last night, and branded Ms Ghani's comments 'false' and 'defamatory'

Mark Spencer identifies himself as the whip involved last night and labels Ms Ghani’s comments “false” and “defamatory”.

Ms Ghani, who was the first Muslim woman to be elected as a Tory MP in 2015, told the Sunday Times she was told by a party whip she was being axed in February 2020 because her status as a Muslim woman and a minister was ‘making colleagues feel uncomfortable’.

She also claimed she was warned that if she continued to raise the issue then her ‘career and reputation would be destroyed’.   

But this morning Downing Street revealed that Ms Ghani had complained directly to the PM in 2020. A spokeswoman said: ‘After being made aware of these extremely serious claims, the Prime Minister met with Nusrat Ghani to discuss them. 

“He wrote her to express his concern and invited her to start a formal grievance process.” She didn’t do this.

After that statement was released, Ms Ghani said: ‘When I told the Prime Minister in June 2020 what had been said to me in the Government Whips’ Office I urged him to take it seriously as a Government matter and instigate an inquiry.

“He said that he was unable to get involved in the matter and recommended I go through the internal Conservative Party grievance process.

“This, as you already noted, was clearly inappropriate for something that occurred on Government business. I don’t even know if I was told about the reshuffle meetings at Downing Street by Conservative Party members.

Dominic Raab, Justice Secretary of the United States, backed him and said that Ms. Ghani must file a formal complaint in order to initiate a specific investigation.

Ms Ghani alleged the chief whip Mark Spencer said her faith got her the boot in 2020

Ms. Ghani claimed that Mark Spencer, chief whip of the United States Senate, said she was a Christian and got the boot for her faith in 2020

The allegation in the Sunday Times prompted demands for an investigation from Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, the most senior Muslim in the Government.

This allegation was published in Sunday Times. Education secretary Nadhim Ziawi (the most powerful Muslim in the government) demanded an investigation.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab rowed in behind the chief whip today, saying that Ms Ghani would have to make a formal complaint to trigger a 'specific investigation'.

Dominic Raab, Justice Secretary of Justice, stood behind Ms Ghani today and said that she would need to file a formal complaint in order to initiate a specific investigation.

Gavin Williamson was the former education secretary and is accused of trying to threaten MP with cuts in school funding 

Gavin Williamson, former education secretary was accused of intimidating a MP to withdraw funding for school in his constituency.

Christian Wakeford, Tory defector and politician claimed that he was warned funding would not be available for the new Bury South school if he didn’t support cutting free food for students.

According to the 37-year-old Bury South MP who defected from the Conservatives on Wednesday, he did not reveal the source of the comments.

According to Mr Wakeford, Gavin Williamson was the former chief whip. 

Wakeford claimed that Williamson took him from the House of Commons Dining Room and said to him, “consider what you are doing.”

He stated that he received a message saying: “It’s not very useful to back an objection (motion) against a department where you want an extremely large favour from the said department. Please consider your actions.”

Mr Wakeford stated: “I’m sure the maxim is once a Whip, Always a Whip’ but that was Gavin.

He claimed, however that Mr Williamson does not recall any conversation with Mr Wakeford.

He stated that he will always remember working with Christian and other people to make this school possible.

 ‘Such major investment decisions are made after close analysis of the benefits that the investment will bring and certainly not something that can be decided in a brief conversation like the one described.’

The row opens a new front in the increasingly bitter conflict between Boris Johnson’s embattled administration and Conservative MPs. 

Partygate revelations fuelled the row and it exploded into open warfare when William Wragg, committee chairman, went public last week with allegations of heavy handed behaviour by whips.

Christian Wakeford from Bury South defected last week to Labour and today used newspaper articles to claim that the PM had ‘poisoned’ the Tory Party ‘from top to bottom.  

In February 2020, Ms. Ghani, Tory MP from Wealden (East Sussex), was dismissed as part of an internal mini-cabinet restructuring.

She told The Times she felt ‘humiliated and powerless’ after the alleged conversation, saying: ‘It was like being punched in the stomach.’

The allegation was strongly denied by a government source who is close to whips’ offices. 

Chief whip Mark Spencer, who was the subject of the claims made by Ms. Ghani, took to Twitter following the allegation.

The MP for Sherwood, 52, claimed he had ‘never used those words’. 

He stated that he was identifying himself as Nusrat Khani MP, who made claims regarding this evening. 

“These accusations are false. I believe them to be defamatory. I’ve never heard those words. 

He claimed that Ms. Ghani “declined” to refer the matter the Conservative Party to a formal investigation. Also, he said he provided evidence to an Islamophobia inquiry.

He stated that it was disappointing that Ms. Ghani did not refer the matter for formal investigation to the Conservative Party when the issue had been raised.

‘I provided evidence to the Singh Investigation into Islamophobia which concluded that there was no credible basis for the claims to be included in the report. 

These claims pertain to a March 2020 meeting. 

‘When Ms. Ghani brought them up, she was invited for the formal CCHQ complaint procedure. She refused to. 

Steve Baker, a former minister and backbencher who supported Mr Zahawi in calling for an investigation was also heard this morning. He stated that Nus should not be treated in this manner. Her (her) great work ethic is something I admire and she’s a shame. It must be stopped.

Tory defector Boris is ‘poisoned’ the Conservative Party 

Former Conservative MP, who defected from Conservative to Labour, has charged Boris Johnson with having “poisoned” the Tory Party from the top to the bottom. He claimed that the Prime Minister was living on borrowed time.

Christian Wakeford protested against the PM’s leadership, and the ongoing row about Downing Street party members.

He also stated that he was threatened with losing a school within his district if he didn’t follow the rules.

The Sunday Mirror quoted Mr Wakeford as saying: “Boris Johnson lives on borrowed time.” He poisoned everything in the Tory Party.

Bury South MP Sue Gray, a civil servant who investigated No 10, said it would reveal that Downing Street had been hosting parties while all the others were following the rules.

The PM was there and then made a shady statement about it. He did not show respect to the Queen when she was mourning her husband’s death, wrote Mr Wakeford.

His behavior was an insult to her Majesty and to the nation as a whole.

“His failure to be honest and trustworthy has poisoned his once great party.”

Mr Wakeford stated that he did not have enough respect for people who voted him into Parliament, so he was not able to remain silent when faced with such intimidation.


Vice-chairwoman of Tory 1922 Committee of Backbenchers Ms. Ghani is believed to have stated she was considering whether to remain an MP after the alleged incident. 

When she spoke about the reshuffle she stated that she had inquired the whips at a post-reshuffle gathering why she was being dismissed. She claimed that they told her “Muslimness” was an ‘issue”.

Ms Ghani, who previously served as Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury, claimed she was told there were concerns that she wasn’t ‘loyal’ to the party because she didn’t do enough to defend it against Islamophobia allegations.

She explained that it was clear to her that No 10, the whips, and No 10 held me accountable for my loyalty. This is because I am a Christian and have a strong faith.

A politician claimed in March 2020 that she attended a second meeting of whips where she claimed to have been told she could not be a part of Islamophobia.

In that same meeting she also claimed that she was fired by the whip for saying that Boris Johnson had a problem with women voters.

Ms Ghani claimed she raised the issue through official party channels but said she was warned that if she continued to do so, she would be ‘ostracised’ by her colleagues and her ‘career and reputation would be destroyed’.

Following the ‘threats,’ she stated that she continued to follow procedure until she was forced to return to the back bench.

President of the Conservative Muslim Forum Lord Sheikh has stated that he is ‘horrified by these claims.

He said, speaking on Times Radio: “If these accusations are true, it’s completely inappropriate. In fact, I was horrified when she was fired in 2020 for her faith.

“I am really, truly disturbed by these comments. We need to investigate what actually happened.

“Mark Spencer denied this happened. So somebody is lying to you.”

A person must carry out an independent investigation. This is vital.

“I have been a Conservative Party member for more than 15 years, and I am president of the Conservative Muslim Forum. Any Islamophobia or discrimination within the party is completely unacceptable. I believe we must get to the bottom.   

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford, who defected to Labour last week, today used a newspaper article to accuse the PM of having 'poisoned the Tory Party from top to bottom'.

Christian Wakeford from Bury South defected last week to Labour and today published a newspaper article in which he accused the PM of having “poisoned” the Tory Party ‘from top to bottom”.

An inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which was carried out two years ago, found no evidence that the Tory party is ‘institutionally racist’ but was critical of comments made by Boris Johnson.

A majority of the independent panel cleared the Prime Minister after he was accused of violating the party’s code. This occurred in the wake a 2018 Daily Telegraph column that described Muslim women wearing the burkhas as ‘letterboxes and bank robbers’. Later, he apologised. 

After a number of claims about Islamophobic behavior in the party, Prof Singh was appointed as the inquiry. It was expanded to include all types of discrimination.

From 2015-2020, the party’s central database recorded 1,418 complaints relating to 727 incidents of alleged discrimination – an average of 237 complaints about 122 incidents a year in a party of 200,000 members.

More than two-thirds of the incidents – 496 cases – related to Islam and 74 per cent of all the cases involved social media activity.

Report concluded that an allegation about institutional racism against the party had not been supported by any evidence pertaining to how the party dealt with the complaints process.

However, it admitted that anti-Muslim sentiment is still a problem within the Conservative Party.

Ms Ghani’s allegations come after rebel Tory William Wragg accused government whips of ‘blackmailing’ backbenchers seeking to oust the Prime Minister amid fears of a no-confidence vote.

Ms Ghani (pictured), 49, alleged she was told by a whip her 'Muslimness was raised as an issue' at a post-reshuffle meeting and that her faith was 'making colleagues feel uncomfortable'

Ms. Ghani (pictured), 49 years old, claimed she was told that Muslimness had been raised at a meeting after the reshuffle and that her faith was making colleagues feel uncomfortable.

It comes as rebel Tory William Wragg (pictured) accused government whips of 'blackmailing' backbenchers seeking to oust Boris Johnson amid fears of a no-confidence vote

The accusation comes at a time when rebel Tory William Wragg, (pictured), claimed government whips had ‘blackmailed backbenchers’ to remove Boris Johnson amid fear of a No-confidence Vote

According to Mr Wragg (34), he said that he would meet a Metropolitan Police detective in the House of Commons next week for discussion of his claims, raising concerns about the possibility of police opening an investigation. 

Wragg indicated that on Friday he planned to inform the detective about’several” instances of bullying, intimidation and some cases involving public money. 

The Telegraph reported that he stood by his statements. That will not be changed by any gas-lighting. 

Downing Street stated that it will not launch its own investigation into the allegations, in spite of calls from both Conservative MPs and opposition MPs. 

The spokesperson for No. 10 stated that it will only initiate an investigation if Mr Wragg is presented with supporting evidence. 

The Chair of Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Mr. Wragg said that an investigation should not be done by the police.

Spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said that if a crime is reported to them, they would consider it. 

However, Adam Holloway, the Tory MP for Gravesham, dismissed the ‘blackmail’ allegations, saying he has ‘never known’ such behaviour to happen during his time in the Conservatives or Government, adding it ‘doesn’t ring true to me’.

After hearing the accusations, Mr Holloway (56), said that he could only speak for himself and had never experienced anything similar.  

‘I’ve never known any sort of link with my behaviour in Parliament and resources coming into my constituency, so I suspect it’s complete bulls***.

“That’s the American political system, that’s all I know. But, it’s not what I see here. That just doesn’t work. 

Tory MP Tom Tugendhat has also insisted that he has never experienced or witnessed his party’s whips use blackmail following the allegations. 

Tory MP Tom Tugendhat (pictured) has insisted that he has never experienced or witnessed his party's whips use blackmail following the allegations from Mr Wragg

Tom Tugendhat is Tory MP and has claimed that he never saw or was involved in whips’ use of blackmail after the accusations from Mr Wragg

On BBC Breakfast, the 48-year old MP for Tonbridge & Malling was asked if he’d ever been blackmailed or intimidated by whips of his party.

He said, “No, not at all. As you know, though, I was never the Government’s most loyal supporter.” On occasions where I believed it was correct, I have voted for the government.

“I’ve had an excellent relationship with my chief whip, and I can say with confidence that it has been a fruitful relationship.

Johnson said on Thursday that he hadn’t seen evidence to back up the assertion made by Wragg about his critics being incited. 

Christian Wakeford (the Bury South MP) claimed that the Tory whips warned him about funding for new schools in his constituency, if he refused to vote for free school meals. 

Ministers tried to discredit the accusations, insisting that the whips did not play any role in allocating public funds.