Deputy PM Refuses to Comment on Whether MP’s Statements Were Islamophobic


The Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden, has refused to label comments made by MP Lee Anderson as Islamophobic. Anderson was suspended from his role as a Conservative MP after he refused to apologise for stating that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is controlled by “Islamists”. Dowden, however, defended the party’s response and claimed that Anderson did not intend to be Islamophobic.

Labour has criticised the Conservative party’s handling of the situation, with a letter to the Prime Minister stating that it was correct to suspend Anderson following his “racist and Islamophobic remarks”. Mayor Khan has also condemned the comments as “Islamophobic, anti-Muslim and racist”.

Despite the backlash, Dowden did not directly label the comments as Islamophobic but expressed concern about how they could be interpreted. He defended the party’s decision to ask for an apology from Anderson and acknowledged that the comments had caused offence.

Anderson has accepted his suspension but has yet to apologise for his comments. While Dowden admitted the comments were “wrong”, he did not confirm whether they were racist.

The Labour party has accused the Conservatives of not taking the threat of Islamophobia seriously. Mayor Khan has also criticised the government for their silence on the matter.

Following his suspension, Anderson will now serve as an independent MP in the Commons. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) welcomed the suspension but expressed concern that it was due to Anderson’s refusal to apologise rather than for making the racist remarks in the first place. The MCB has called for an internal investigation into Islamophobia within the Conservative party.

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