Tory “turmoil” is blamed for slow action against Islamophobia

An expert review found that the Conservative Party’s slow progress on fighting Islamophobia is due to “turmoil” at the top.

Prof. Swaran Singh said that the efforts of the party had been hurt by the “political upheaval” of the past two years.

The Tories said that there had been “significant progress” but that there was “still work to be done.”

The first investigation began in 2020, after accusations of discrimination within the party got a lot of attention.

Prof. Singh, a former equality and human rights commissioner, released a report in 2021. It found proof of discrimination and anti-Muslim views at the local association and individual level, but it said that claims of “institutional racism” were not supported by the evidence.

In his most recent review, he found that some of his suggestions had been “slow” to be put into action.

It said that training at the local level is “mixed” and that there is no official way to deal with complaints about discriminatory behavior by the party’s most senior members.

People who came forward with accusations also needed better care, the study said.

“Politics is a rough business, but there’s no reason why the complaints process should be indifferent or harsh to the people involved,” it said.

But the team was glad to hear that the party “fully accepted” the need to put its suggestions into action.

Since the 2021 report came out, Boris Johnson was pushed out as prime minister, and his replacement, Liz Truss, was only in office for 45 days before the financial markets went crazy because of her economic policies.

Prof. Singh wrote, “Since the study came out two years ago, there has been a lot of political change in the UK.

“In that time, there have been three heads of the Conservative Party and seven chairs.

“This trouble has made it harder for the party to follow our suggestions.

“Change took longer than expected, and the fact that some recommendations depended on others caused problems that slowed down implementation.”

His review showed that in one case, an accuser was upset because the offending kept going on “undeterred” even though the punishment hadn’t been carried out nearly a year after the judge’s decision.

The review found that between April and June 2022, the Conservative Party got 212 complaints about 137 different things.

Five of these complaints were about bullying or being scared, three were about sexual assault, and one was about a member writing pieces for an alt-right website.

Prof. Singh made a number of new suggestions, one of which was to look into whether complaints against the most senior party members should be managed by people outside the party.

Greg Hands, the leader of the Conservative Party, said that the party had made “significant progress” on Prof. Singh’s original suggestions, with 25 done and only six still going on.

“There is still work to be done, though, and this is an ongoing process of getting better,” he said.

Prof. Singh’s first investigation looked at a number of cases, including allegations against Zac Goldsmith’s campaign against Sadiq Khan for mayor of London in 2016 and comments made by former Prime Minister Mr. Johnson in 2018, when he wrote that women wearing burkas looked like “letter boxes” or “bank robbers.”

The review said that these kinds of cases “give some people the impression that a party and its leadership don’t care about Muslim communities.”

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