Zahawi appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Monday to explore the claims and subsequent investigation by Boris Johnson, which was announced today. It comes as Ms Ghani claimed that she was told her Muslim woman status made colleagues “uncomfortable”. As Zahawi began defining the government over growing tensions between the Ukraine and Russia, presenter Susanna cut in to stop him from “spinning,” and was slapped down by the MP, who furiously denied the claim.
“I wonder how exhausted you all are that there’s an inquiry followed by (an) allegation followed by a further inquiry followed by an investigation, it’s a mess, isn’t it?” Reid asked Zahawi.
“Well, if you judge a government’s performance by outputs, as I’m sure Ed Balls would agree, you look at what this prime minister and what his government is doing on the very tense situation in the Ukraine with the Russian aggression against that free country, it’s been globally commended so if that’s a measure of the focus on the big decisions I think that is exactly what we’re doing.”
He continued: “Whether it be vaccines, boosters, the economy, which is kept as the most open economy in Europe, the education, making sure children are back in school – 99.9 percent of schools are open.
“I think the big decisions this prime minister is getting right, of course, he’s human and he makes mistakes and he made a mistake and apologised for it.”
“We’ve had the apology, now we need the details which is why Sue Gray’s report is so important.
“But on the big decisions, our focus is very much on the levelling up, the paper that Michael Gove is working on that will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Reid cut in to argue: “Okay, okay, I don’t know, I mean even as you try and spin all the positive lines, I’m sure people will -“
“I’m not spinning!” Zahawi snapped, as Reid continued: “Yes you are, I’m sorry Mr Zahawi you are!”
“Why do you think that Downing Street is so behind the curve on tackling this issue of Islamophobia?”
Zahawi replied: “Well, the PM took this very seriously, if you remember-“
“Well he didn’t,” Ball cut in. “Because he didn’t do an inquiry or an investigation, he told her to refer it to the Conservative Party.”
Responding, the MP continued: “We had professor Singh conducting an inquiry into Islamophobia, he reported back with important measures that we are overhauling our systems – I’m certainly very proud that we deal with antisemitism, with any form of racism in my party.”
He added: “Nus made a very serious allegation, and she’s a friend and a very talented parliamentarian and the first Muslim Conservative Member of Parliament and minister. It’s important that we look at this seriously-“
“It should have been investigated a year and a half ago, shouldn’t it?” Balls interrupted.
“Well, he met her two years ago,” Zahawi explained. “To say if she wants to make a formal complaint then it will be absolutely looked at.”
“To the Conservative Party,” Balls repeated. “It was a government matter.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
Published at Mon, 24 Jan 2022 09:07:00 +0000