The deeply Islamophobic comments from former Conservative ministers Lee Anderson and Suella Braverman over the past week are only the latest in a campaign of racist, hateful rhetoric from some British politicians. From Boris Johnson’s highly offensive comparison of Muslim women to ‘letterboxes’, to Suella Braverman’s likening of refugees in small boats to an ‘invasion’, we have seen inflammatory hate speech and Islamophobia become all too common in British politics, and this is likely to increase across the election year.  

Anderson has been clear that he believes the ‘culture wars’ should be the central issue for his (now former) party during the coming election campaign. We have, since Anderson’s comments on Monday, already seen Donald Trump’s vile and wholly fictitious 2015 claim that parts of London were now ‘no-go areas’ because of their Muslim populations echoed by prominent members of the Conservative Party. If the Party and others in the political arena continue in this approach, such divisive and shallow dog-whistle politics, at a time of already unprecedented social upheaval for British Muslims and other racialised groups in the UK, will be disastrous for progressing racial equity.  

Anderson’s suspension from the party, while necessary, does not address the deeply entrenched racism within British politics. The governing party should be representing and advocating for all British citizens, and must not echo dangerous tropes and conspiracy theories attacking already marginalised groups. Such rhetoric has devastating consequences, and Muslim communities are currently experiencing an unprecedented 335% increase in hate crime.  

Race on the Agenda (ROTA) joins the calls from the Muslim Council of Britain for a full inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party. We also call on parliament more broadly to rigorously address any attempts to attack Black and Global Majority groups in the UK in the name of politics.