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Most Tory members believe Islam is 'a threat to British way of life', poll finds

3 min read

A majority of Conservative Party members believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life, according to a poll.

The survey, by anti-racism campaigners Hope Not Hate, also found that nearly two-thirds of Tory activists believe the religion is "a threat to western civilisation".

Labour said the findings showed that "Islamophobia and racism are ingrained" among some Conservative members.

According to the poll, 54% of the Tory rank-and-file believe that Islam is “generally a threat to the British way of life”.

Some 60% think that "Islam is generally a threat to Western civilisation", with fewer than one-in-five (17%) taking the opposite view.

The YouGov study follows polling results released last month, which found that almost half of Conservative members would not accept a Muslim as the country's Prime Minister.

They were released as Tory activists vote on whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Huny should be their next leader and Prime Minister.

Shadow equalities minister, Dawn Butler said: "This poll shows that Islamophobia and racism are ingrained among some Conservative Party members. It is worrying that the people choosing our next Prime Minister hold these views.

"Boris Johnson has a lot to answer for - both because of his own record of racism and Islamophobia, including just last year comparing Muslim women to 'bank robbers' and 'letterboxes', and because of the likelihood that these Tory Party members will vote for him as leader.

"He should be held to account for it and have the decency to apologise.

“Johnson has already broken his promise on holding an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, but anything short of that will be an insult to anyone who believes in fighting racism of all kinds and particularly Muslim communities, and will compound the hurt and anguish that is already being felt in our country.”

Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt has vowed to hold an independent inquiry into the issue within the party's ranks if he wins the top job in the coming weeks.

“We have led the charge in criticising Jeremy Corbyn for not doing enough to tackle anti-semitism in the Labour Party, so we must set an example in tackling all prejudice within our own party," he told the BBC last week.

"And that’s why the right thing to do is to have that independent inquiry, and get to the bottom of it, and absolutely root it out.”

Mr Johnson, the current frontrunner in the leadership race, told ITV that he would bring forward “an inquiry into every manner of prejudice within the party”.

"We treat any allegations of prejudice or discrimination or Islamophobia, within our party, any kind of prejudice as absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

The latest figures also show that 61% of members believe Islam poses a threat to the British way of life because it “breeds intolerance for free speech and calls for violent actions against those who mock, criticise or depict the religion in ways they believe are offensive”.

The Conservative Party has been approached for comment.

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