Boris Johnson Facing Another Scandal as Lawmaker Says She Was Fired Due to Muslim Faith

Former British Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said she was fired from her position in 2020 because of her "Muslimness," prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday to call for an investigation.

Ghani told The Sunday Times that when she was demoted, a Conservative Party whip said her "Muslimness was raised as an issue" and her being a Muslim woman made colleagues "uncomfortable." She added that she was told if she persisted, her "career and reputation would be destroyed."

In a statement posted to his Twitter, Chief Whip Mark Spencer identified himself as the one Ghani was referring to. However, he added that the allegations are "completely false and I consider them to be defamatory." He also added that Ghani did not pursue a formal investigation into the incident.

According to the BBC, Ghani previously met with the prime minister to discuss the matter. A spokesperson told the news outlet that Johnson "then wrote to her expressing his serious concern and inviting her to begin a formal complaint process. She did not subsequently do so. The Conservative Party does not tolerate prejudice or discrimination of any kind."

In response, Ghani confirmed that Johnson "wrote to me that he could not get involved and suggested I use the internal Conservative Party complaint process," the BBC reported. But she said she did not because it was "very clearly not appropriate for something that happened on government business" and she was not sure if the words Spencer allegedly repeated to her were initially said by members of the Conservative Party.

Ghani's allegations are putting another strain on Johnson's leadership, which is being called into question after it was revealed he had attended several parties amid COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020.

In addition to "partygate," Conservative Member of Parliament William Wragg recently accused government whips of using blackmail and intimidation to get other members of parliament to support the government, the Associated Press reported.

This increase in his administration's scandals could lead the Conservative Party to start a vote of no confidence, which has the potential to oust Johnson from his position. According to AP, Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, is investigating the "partygate" allegations. Her report is due to come out this week and, depending on its contents, could inspire more Conservative lawmakers to trigger the no-confidence vote.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi made a statement on his Twitter in response to Ghani's interview with the Times, saying there "is no place for islamophobia or any form of racism" in the Conservative Party.

"[Ghani] is a friend, a colleague & a brilliant parliamentarian," he wrote. "This has to be investigated properly & racism routed out."

Nusrat Ghani, United Kingdom, parliament
Nusrat Ghani, a former minister in Britain’s Conservative government, said she was told that her Muslim faith was a reason she was fired. Above, an official file portrait of Ghani provided by Britain's Parliament. Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament via AP