Tories backtrack on pledge to hold Islamophobia inquiry

Chancellor Sajid Javid

The Conservative Party has backtracked on its pledge to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia.

Instead, it will hold an inquiry into all types of racism, Chancellor Sajid Javid confirmed. Javid said the investigation would start by the end of the year but added that it would not only focus on anti-Muslim hatred.

Boris Johnson previously vowed to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia following accusations that scores of party members have been spreading hatred towards Muslims.

Mr Javid told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We will have an inquiry into prejudice and it will absolutely mean looking into anti-Muslim hatred, and making sure that our zero tolerance policy – absolute zero tolerance – is as effective as it can be and looking to see what other procedures we could have in place.

“But at the same time it also makes sense to look at any other kind of prejudice – it’s absolute sense to look at all types of prejudice, in any form, because it is all unacceptable.”

During the leadership election, Mr Javid was at the forefront of calls for an investigation into the extent of Islamophobia within the Conservative party. During a televised debate he persuaded all the other candidates, including Mr Johnson, to sign up to the pledge.

Mr Johnson himself has been criticised for writing a newspaper column in which he compared women who wear the burqa to “letterboxes.”

The Muslim Council of Britain, which has campaigned for an inquiry into Tory Islamophobia, said that despite the fact that over 100 incidences of Islamophobia had been identified the inquiry has been scaled back significantly.

In a statement the MCB said: “The Prime Minister has once again broken his promise to hold an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. The problem is institutional and endemic at all levels of the Party, yet there has been denial, deflection and discounting of the issue at every turn. It is important for all parties to genuinely commit to an inclusive culture in Westminster.

“Unfortunately many British Muslims, some of whom will want to vote Tory, will remain sceptical of claims of an anti-racist Conservative Party when its leadership refuses to genuinely tackle anti-Muslim racism in its ranks.”

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