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Sajid Javid forces leadership rivals to pledge independent probe into Tory Islamophobia

Sajid Javid forces leadership rivals to pledge independent probe into Tory Islamophobia
3 min read

The remaining Tory leadership candidates have pledged to order an inquiry into Islamophobia in the party.

All five of them made the promise under pressure from Home Secretary Sajid Javid during a BBC debate.

The Conservatives have faced a series of controversies over Islamophobic comments on social media by party members and elected politicians.

Last month, a dossier containing more than 100 allegations of anti-Islam abuse and racism within the party was revealed.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has also called on the Conservatives to respond to allegations that it has not done enough to tackle the problem.

Mr Javid, who has previously called for an external investigation into Islamophobia in his party, said to the other four contenders: "Do you all agree, guys? Shall we have an external investigation into the Conservative Party on Islamophobia? Excellent, they agree."

A source on his campaign said: "Sajid is deeply concerned about rising division in our society. We are a great country, the world’s most successful multi-racial democracy, and there are people from all backgrounds and races in the most senior roles right across society.

"But there is a rise in hate crime across the country, and we cannot close our eyes to it. And though he does not have any reason to believe there is anything endemic in the Tory Party that breeds Islamophobia, no organisation is immune from this cancer. So he’s pleased to open up the party to scrutiny."

The source added: "Saj showed the leadership on Islamophobia and on uniting the party that it has been missing. One thing is clear from that debate: it is time for somebody who can heal the divisions in the party and the country."

The pledge to tackle Islamophobia came after Boris Johnson was forced to make an apology for comparing Muslim women who wear the niqab to "letter boxes" and "bank robbers".

Answering a question from a Muslim man in Bristol, who said that "words have consequences", the former Foreign Secretary said: "Insofar as my words have given offence over the last 20 or 30 years and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, then of course I'm sorry for the offence that they have caused."

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt finally condemned publicly Donald Trump for retweeting attacks on London mayor Sadiq Khan by Katy Hopkins.

He has come under fire for saying he agreed "150%" with the US president, who accused Mr Khan of failing to tackle crime in the capital.

Mr Hunt said: "I agreed with sentiment that Sadiq Khan has been a useless London mayor when it comes to tackling knife crime, but I totally disagree with his words and the racist rants of Katy Hopkins.

"I am married to an immigrant. I have three half-Chinese children. When they go to school they look different to the other children. But the best thing about this country is that it doesn't matter at all - we are one of the most open, outward-looking, tolerant countries on the planet.

"People need to know that the Brexit that Conservatives will deliver will be an open, tolerant one - showing we are that brilliant country we are."

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