Ruling party deny accusation of anti-Muslim bias and put new procedures in place
UK's Conservatives clamp down on Islamophobia
Britain’s ruling Conservative party has pledged to “stamp out” anti-Muslim abuse within its ranks, working with a prominent community group to set up a framework to address any future incidents.
Party chairman Brandon Lewis insisted there would be “zero-tolerance” of any reported abuses under his watch. Following investigations, a number of members were immediately suspended and some have been expelled, he said.
“Such prejudice destroys society from within. That is why I believe discrimination of any kind has no place within the Conservative Party,” Mr Lewis added. “Britain would be a poorer place without British Muslims.”
Yesterday Mr Lewis met with TellMAMA, an organisation dedicated to protecting and supporting Muslims in Britain, who recognised the swift action undertaken by the party in light of the allegations, he said.
As such, Mr Lewis said he would now implement a four-pronged approach. The Conservative party will cooperate closely with TellMAMA to give local party associations guidance on how to deal with “abuse and bigotry robustly.”
These associations will also be reminded of behavioural standards and the necessity of diversity and inclusivity. They will be asked to report back to Conservative headquarters on how they have dealt with locally reported complaints.
Training will also be given to party members on how to promote inclusion and banish discrimination.
The decision follows a letter-writing and social media campaign by Muslim Brotherhood-linked bodies, including the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain, that alleged Islamophobia within the Conservative party. The Conservative Party has rejected those claims of systemic anti-Muslim prejudices within its ranks. TellMama did not participate in the campaign and was targeted with criticism by the organisers.
Former party Chairman Baroness Warsi has since said Islamophobia is widespread within the Conservatives and that senior figures had failed to act on it. However the most senior politician from a Muslim background, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, has pointed to his own position and dismissed the allegations as a bid to smear the governing party.