31/05/2018 10:18 BST

Muslim Council Asks For Inquiry Into Tory Party Islamophobia

Move backed by former Tory cabinet minister.

David Levenson via Getty Images
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has backed calls for an inquiry into islamophobia within the Tory party.

The Muslim Council of Britain has called for an independent inquiry into islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

In a letter to Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis, the UK’s largest Muslim group said it was time to make sure “racists and bigots have no place in the party”.

The move was backed by  Baroness Warsi, the former Tory cabinet minister, who has long called for an internal inquiry into the problem. “I hope that the party will start by stop denying it exists,” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Harun Khan, the MCB secretary general, criticised Lewis for failing to take action against Tory MP Bob Blackman who expressed “regret” in March after sharing an anti-Muslim Facebook post. The Harrow East MP has also been criticised for hosting a controversial Hindu nationalist at an event in parliament.

Khan said: “Just last month, there were more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the Conservative Party.

“Furthermore, the inaction taken in high-profile cases, sends a signal that Islamophobia is to be tolerated in the Conservative Party.”

“Our democracy should not be overshadowed by a divisive culture within political parties that scapegoats minorities and alienates some who share similar political positions. Instead, fellow Britons should feel enthused to vote for and indeed aspire for office in whichever party that they feel makes the best political argument.” 

In April, Tory party vice-chairman James Cleverly denied the party had a problem with islamophobia. 

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We take all such incidents seriously, which is why we have suspended all those who have behaved inappropriately and launched immediate investigations.”