Braintree MP ‘sorry’ for incidents of Islamophobia in party

PUBLISHED: 15:19 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 11 December 2019

Braintree MP James Cleverly. Picture: PARLIAMENT TV

Braintree MP James Cleverly. Picture: PARLIAMENT TV

Archant

Conservative chairman and Braintree MP James Cleverly has apologised for cases of Islamophobia in his party during an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live, on Sunday.

Mr Cleverly, who supported Brexit in the EU referendum and was appointed under secretary of state for exiting the EU, said he was "sorry" when his party members and candidates "do or say things that are wrong".

A statement on the Muslim Council of Britain website, published on December 6, read: "The Muslim Council of Britain has described the claim by Michael Gove that the Conservative Party will establish an independent inquiry into Islamophobia by the end of the year as 'outright dishonest'.

"Conservative Party members contradicted him and re-affirmed its wilful determination to ignore the problem by instead holding a watered-down, internally conducted investigation that would broadly look into discrimination and prejudice, not specifically at Islamophobia.

"This, despite more than 100 incidences of Islamophobia identified in the party."

But Mr Cleverly expressed his 'confidence' the issued could be addressed. During an appearance on the Pienaar's Politics show, he said a party-wide independent investigation into prejudice will start before the end of 2019.

Mr Cleverly, who represents villages including Rayne, the Bumpsteads, Great Bardfield, and Finchingfield, said: "We have been doing, in parallel to the general election campaign, preparatory work and we'll be making a more formal announcement as soon as the election is done.

"We recognise that, in mass membership organisations, that there will always be people that say and do things which are completely inappropriate."

Mr Cleverly also told John Pienaar that the prime minister had already apologised for his comments regarding Muslim women, but critics said Mr Johnson only apologised for offence caused.

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