Tories Will Not Face Islamophobia Probe By Equalities Watchdog

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will not investigate after the Conservative party launched its own independent probe.

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The Conservative party will not face a probe by the equalities watchdog over Islamophobia in its ranks after launching its own independent investigation into discrimination.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said an investigation “would not be proportionate” after the Tories published the terms of reference for the party’s own inquiry, which included specific mentions of Islamophobia.

But the terms were described as a “facade” by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which argued the Tories’ investigation was too narrow even compared to Labour’s much-criticised Chakrabarti inquiry into anti-Semitism.

The inquiry would “hide the hundreds of incidences of Islamophobic bigotry” in the Tory party identified by the MCB, it said.

EHRC had been facing pressure to investigate the Tories after MCB sent it a dossier of more than 300 allegations of Islamophobia.

But a spokesperson for the commission said: “We have given very careful consideration to complaints raised about discrimination and Islamophobia in the Conservative party.

“We have concluded, in the light of the decision by the party to institute an independent investigation, that it would not be proportionate to initiate our own investigation at this stage.

“We will be monitoring the review and requiring the party to provide regular updates on progress.

“If we are not satisfied with progress or how the investigation is conducted we will review our decision and do not rule out the use of our legal powers.”

However, the MCB said the terms of reference of the Tory inquiry would be focused on its handling of complaints fo prejudice and discrimination, “instead of the issue of racism itself”.

Harun Khan, MCB secretary general, said: “We have previously described the Conservative party’s attitude to Islamophobia as one of denial, dismissal and deceit.

“The publication of the terms of reference for its inquiry reflects that regrettable attitude.

“They are a facade to hide the hundreds of incidences of Islamophobic bigotry we have identified in its ranks.

“In sum, it seems even today, the Conservative party refuses to acknowledge that there can be bigotry and prejudice directed at Muslims.”

Boris Johnson in November apologised for Islamophobia in the party after coming under pressure over his own comments about Muslim women, in which he suggested they look like “letter-boxes” and “bank robbers”.


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