Boris Johnson, left, and Nusrat Ghani, right.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images; David Cliff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Boris Johnson is set to receive the findings of a probe into Islamophobia allegations.
Nusrat Ghani alleged that a whip said her “Muslimness” was a factor in her being sacked as a minister.
Civil servants probing the allegations will give advice to Johnson on his return to the UK this week.
Boris Johnson is due to receive the results of an investigation by civil servants into allegations by a Conservative MP who said she was told she had been sacked as a minister because of her “Muslimness.”
Nusrat Ghani was a junior transport minister until early February 2020. Ghani told the Sunday Times nearly two years later that she had been told by a government whip that her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” during a reshuffle meeting in Downing Street and that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable.”
Mark Spencer, then the chief whip and now leader of the House of Commons, identified himself as the whip in question, but has denied the allegations, calling them “completely false.” Johnson ordered an investigation into Ghani’s allegations to be opened in late January 2022.
Senior civil servant Darren Tierney, the head of the Propriety and Ethics unit in the Cabinet Office, told MPs Tuesday afternoon that he planned on giving Johnson the investigation results.
He said he would be giving “advice to the prime minister upon his return [to the UK] this week on how to handle the one live investigation that’s going on.”
“I don’t want to speculate on what might happen with that, because we’ve not obviously told the parties on what might happen, and the prime minister’s not made a decision yet,” Tierney said.
Ghani is not believed to have been informed of the progress of the investigation by the Cabinet Office before Tierney’s appearance before the committee.
Johnson arrived at the Nato summit in Madrid Tuesday afternoon following visits to Austria and Rwanda and is expected to return Friday.
Tierney’s team was carrying out the work of the investigation under the guidance of Lord Christopher Geidt, Johnson’s now-former independent adviser on ministers’ interests.
Geidt referred to the investigation in his ongoing work in his annual report published at the end of May, just over two weeks before his resignation on June 15.
In the annual report, Geidt said he expected to give his advice on the matter to Johnson and for the advice to then be published. But it is unclear if Tierney’s advice to Johnson will be published following Geidt’s resignation.
Another Conservative MP, given anonymity to speak frankly, told Insider they believed the advice should be published even if from Tierney rather than Geidt.
The Cabinet Office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.