Sayeeda Warsi calls for inquiry into Islamophobia within Tory party
From The Guardian: Sayeeda Warsi has called on the Conservatives to launch a “full independent inquiry” into Islamophobia in the party and warned the Tories were pursuing a politically damaging policy of denial about the problem in its own ranks.
The former Conservative party chair accused incumbent Brandon Lewis of a “woefully inept” response to recent complaints and added that MP Zac Goldsmith should receive “mandatory diversity training” following his unsuccessful attempt to beat Sadiq Khan to the London mayoralty.
Writing for the Guardian, Lady Warsi said: “I’ve been warning my party of its ‘Muslim problem’ for far too long,” and said that elite indifference to the issue meant the Tories were stuck with a political strategy that amounted little more than “fuck the Muslims”.
Warsi’s comments come a week after the Muslim Council of Britain repeated its call for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia, complaining that Lewis had failed to respond to a dossier of complaints it had submitted and was hoping that the issue would “magically go away”.
“For years I’ve argued that an internal inquiry was the solution to this mess. Unfortunately the time for that has now long passed. As a plethora of people and organisations have now said, only with a full, independent inquiry can we truly become the party we claim to be: one that deplores prejudice in all its forms and stamps it out wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head,” Warsi wrote.
The peer singled out Goldsmith’s controversial mayoral campaign in 2016. He was accused of running a smear campaign after his team put out leaflets claiming that his Muslim rival Khan supported “a wealth tax on family jewellery”.
Warsi said: “Zac Goldsmith’s campaign for London mayor was made possible precisely because the party didn’t care about Muslims and ignored their concerns.”
Warsi also referred to a second Tory MP, Bob Blackman, as somebody who also needed diversity training. He retweeted a post by former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson in 2016 and shared an item from an anti-Muslim website earlier this year. He has previously said that he had shared the Robinson post in error and had swiftly removed the Facebook post and apologised.