Sajid Javid added: “No-one suggested that. And that is one of the big differences I think in what we're seeing with the Labour Party today.”
Boris Johnson had written a Daily Telegraph column in 2018 in which he compared Muslim women to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers.” In 2005, after the London bombings, he wrote in The Spectator that Islamophobia was a “natural” reaction to Islam. He wrote: “To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture — to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques — it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.” He added that “the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem.”
As for his claim that no one had ever credibly suggested Islamophobia was an issue with the leadership, the accusation had been made on the floor of the House of Commons in the presence of both Javid and Johnson. Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was applauded by MPs in September after he called Johnson’s remarks “derogatory and racist.” Singh Dhesi said: “If I decide to wear a turban, or you, Mr Speaker, decide to wear a cross, or he decides to wear a kippah or skull cap, or she decides to wear a hijab or a burqa, does that mean that it is open season for right hon. Members of this House to make derogatory and divisive remarks about our appearance?
“For those of us who, from a young age, have had to endure and face up to being called names such as towelhead or Taliban, or to people saying we come from bongo, bongo land, we can appreciate full well the hurt and pain felt by already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers and letterboxes. So rather than hide behind sham and whitewash investigations, when will the prime minister finally apologise for his derogatory and racist remarks?
“Those racist remarks have led to a spike in hate crime. Given the increasing prevalence of such incidents within his party, when will the prime minister finally order an inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party, which was something that he and his chancellor promised on national television?”
The chancellor’s statement that no one has ever credibly suggested there was an issue in the Tory leadership with Islamophobia was a lie.