During the 2019 leadership contest Boris Johnson promised to hire an independent expert to look into claims of rampant Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. Former Tory chairwoman Baroness Warsi said the party was racked with “institutional racism.”
A report by an independent expert has concluded “anti-Muslim sentiment remains a problem” within the Conservative Party.
Professor Swaran Singh’s report carried out an “in-depth scrutiny” of a dossier of 30 cases provided by Lady Warsi.
The Singh report into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. Agreed to (reluctantly) by Boris Johnson during the Tory leadership contest 2 years ago, and finally published today. Uncomfortable reading for him, personally criticised for letter box column.https://t.co/Wu0XB5qCQ4
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) May 25, 2021
His report, published on Tuesday, 25 May, said: “While the party leadership claims a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to all forms of discrimination, our findings show that discriminatory behaviours occur, especially in relation to people of Islamic faith.”
Between 2015 and 2020 the party’s central database recorded 1,418 complaints relating to 727 incidents in a party of 200,000 members.
More than two-thirds of the complaints related to Islam and 74 percent centred on comments made on social media.
In 231 cases the person complained about was either suspended or expelled.
Report author Professor Swaran Singh tells me: “I’m not saying that the party leadership IS insensitive to Muslim communities. I’m saying that the perception is very strong.” https://t.co/2A71h6Qr3N
— David Hughes (@DavidHughesPA) May 25, 2021
Prof Singh also said Boris Johnson’s own comments, in a newspaper column, about women wearing the burka looking like they were letterboxes gave the impression the Tories were “insensitive to Muslim communities.”
Prof Singh said the leader of the Conservative Party “ought to set a good example for appropriate behaviours and language.”
His report also criticised Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith’s 2016 London mayoral campaign against Labour’s Sadiq Khan.
The report said Lord Goldsmith “accepts poor judgement in the way his campaign was conducted but forcefully denies harbouring anti-Muslim sentiments or using such sentiments for political advantage.”
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The party is considering the recommendations set out by the report. We will respond later today”.