Naz Shah says PM Boris Johnson uses antisemitism in ‘tit for tat deflection’
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Naz Shah says PM Boris Johnson uses antisemitism in ‘tit for tat deflection’

The Labour MP made the accusation as she called on Johnson to give assurances to British Muslims that he is not an Islamophobe

Naz Shah, at Jewish News' hustings last year
Naz Shah, at Jewish News' hustings last year

Labour MP Naz Shah said the prime minister Boris Johnson uses the “very serious issue” of antisemitism in a “tit-for-tat deflection” from Islamophobia.

The MP for Bradford West made the accusation in Parliament on Wednesday as she called on Johnson to give assurances to British Muslims that he is not an Islamophobe.

She said: “So could the prime minister, and for once without hiding behind the robes of his Muslim ancestors – yes, we all know he had them – or clinging to the fig leaf that his ex-chancellor’s (Sajid Javid) presence in a cabinet provided him, or resorting to the potentially divisive tit-for-tat deflection of a very serious issue which is antisemitism.

“Three hundred complaints of Islamophobia within his party – can he simply assure me what he is doing to assure Britain’s Muslims that their prime minister is not an Islamophobe and takes their concerns seriously?”

Johnson replied: “Well I can reassure her [Shah] there is absolutely no room for hatred or racism in this party, in our Conservative Party, and I wish I could say the same of her own party.”

The Labour Party is being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over alleged antisemitism, making it the second political party to be probed by the watchdog.

Shah apologised in 2016 after being suspended from the party over antisemitic posts. The MP, who was later reinstated, blamed “ignorance” for the language used.

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