Leadsom under fire for suggesting Islamophobia is a Foreign Office issue

Andrea Leadsom has come under fire for suggesting that Islamophobia should be treated as a Foreign Office issue.

Labour frontbencher Naz Shah said she was “shocked” by the Commons Leader’s “baffling” comments.

The shadow women and equalities minister added that Mrs Leadsom’s response “horrifically alludes to British Muslims as foreigners”.

Mrs Leadsom made the remarks in response to Ms Shah’s call for a Commons debate after senior Tory peer Baroness Warsi slammed the Conservatives over Islamophobia within the party.

Ms Shah added that the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims recently published a definition of Islamophobia.

The Commons Leader said: “The Conservative party is taking very strong action in any cases of Islamophobia that we identify.

“We have been extremely robust and urgent in our response to this.”

On a definition of Islamophobia, Mrs Leadsom suggested “she can discuss with Foreign Office ministers whether that would be a useful way forward”.

Ms Shah said: “I was shocked by what Andrea Leadsom said in response to my genuine call for a debate on Islamophobia.

“To say that British Muslims facing Islamophobia here in the UK is a ‘Foreign Office’ issue is truly baffling and horrifically alludes to British Muslims as foreigners.

“It just goes to show how out of touch the Tories are with a problem that their politicians and councillors are exacerbating.

“Perhaps she doesn’t want a debate as it will expose her party’s failing on the problem?

“The Tories have been skirting around this big issue for years and have not addressed the elephant in the room.

“Everyday Muslims face appalling abuse on the streets and online, and it’s time things changed. Islamophobia has become normalised, and we need our politicians and society to understand how and why it is so wrong, and that we need to eradicate it in all its forms.”

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