A Tory MP has sparked controversy after he said Nusrat Ghani’s claim that she was sacked as a junior minister as concerns were raised about her Muslim faith “stinks”.
Michael Fabricant said the timing of her claim was “very suspicious”, and suggested it was linked to moves to get rid of Boris Johnson over the Downing Street lockdown parties scandal.
He said Ms Ghani was not “obviously” a Muslim, and it was “lame” to claim that was the reason she was fired as a transport minster in a reshuffle in 2020.
Labour described his comments a “shameful” and called for the Conservative whip to be withdrawn.
Watch: Nusrat Ghani’s claim of Islamophobia a ‘lame excuse’ for sacking, says Michael Fabricant
What an appalling, disgraceful thing to say. If the Tories wanted to show they were serious about tackling Islamophobia, they could start by removing the whip from Michael Fabricant https://t.co/xWmApQbZvK
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) January 23, 2022
Speaking on LBC, Mr Fabricant said: “The timing is interesting. I think all this is because it’s open season on Boris Johnson, putting pressure on him from the party trying to get him to resign.
“I think the whole thing actually stinks, the accusation being made by Nus Ghani.
“She’s hardly someone who is obviously a Muslim. I had no idea what religion she is. It does seem rather a lame excuse to me that she was sacked because of that.”
In response, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy tweeted: “What an appalling, disgraceful thing to say.
“If the Tories wanted to show they were serious about tackling Islamophobia, they could start by removing the whip from Michael Fabricant.”
Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds said the response of the the Tories to Ms Ghani’s claims had been shameful.
“For a Conservative MP, Michael Fabricant, to go on the radio and make comments that reflect exactly the sort of unacceptable behaviour Nusrat has raised shows just how deep the problem in the Conservative Party goes,” she said.
Watch: Dominic Raab says there will be no inquiry into Tory MP’s ‘Muslimness’ sacking claim