Conservative party members’ ‘chilling’ attitudes towards Muslims have been revealed in a new poll.
43% of Tory members would not be happy with a Muslim Prime Minister and 40% want fewer Muslims to be allowed into the UK, according to the YouGov survey carried out by anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate.
67% revealed they believe “there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law”, and 45% think “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”.
In addition just 8% of Tory members said there is a problem with Islamophobia or racism towards Muslims within the Conservative Party. 79% don’t think there is a problem.
The research reveals the shocking extent to which party members ‘buy into racist myths’, according to Matthew McGregor, campaigns director at Hope Not Hate.
He said: “No mainstream political party should accept racism and racists within its ranks.
“The Conservatives have paid lip service by saying they have zero tolerance to Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice, but this new poll confirms they face a real crisis.
“From the grassroots to the great offices of state, Conservative members buy into racist myths, with almost half unwilling to have a Muslim Prime Minister – and only 8% being proud to have one – and most denying that there’s even an issue to confront.”
Sajid Javid, who was eliminated from the Conservative party leadership contest last week, persuaded his fellow leadership candidates to commit to an independent investigation into Islamophobia in the Tory party if they become Prime Minister.
It came shortly after the Muslim Council of Britain filed a complaint to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, demanding an investigation into Islamophobia in the Tory Party.
During the leadership race, Boris Johnson has been forced to defend his previous comments about Muslim women, comparing them to ‘letterboxes’.
Mr Johnson, the runaway favourite to become Britain’s next Prime Minister has stopped short of fully apologising for the remarks, claiming his words were taken out of context.
During the BBC debate of potential Tory leaders he said: “In so far as my words have given offence over the last 20 or 30 years, when I have been a journalist and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, of course I am sorry for the offence they have caused.”
The poll will raise further questions over whether it is right that around 160,000 Conservative party members will chose the UK’s next Prime Minister.
Party members are 17 years older than the UK average, less ethnically diverse than the UK as a whole, 71% male and far more likely than average to be a higher earner.