Michael Gove has the same “crazy” anti-Muslim policies as Donald Trump, according to a former chairwoman of the Conservative Party.
Baroness Warsi has described the former Tory leadership contender’s views as “deeply, deeply worrying”, arguing they were a strong influence on David Cameron’s policy shift on tackling extremism.
Before being made Education Secretary, Mr Gove wrote a provocative book about Islamist terrorism, arguing that “a sizeable minority” of British Muslims hold “rejectionist Islamist views”.
In an interview to promote her book, Baroness Warsi said she was “tempted” to agree with the suggestion that Mr Gove “radicalised” the former prime minister.
“When you hang out with someone at weekends and spend holidays with them and your kids hang out together, you discuss things and share things and influence people in a way that you can’t around a Cabinet table or in a formal meeting,” the Conservative peer said.
“I don’t have a personal issue with Michael, he’s never done anything to me personally – but politically I find his views and what I saw in Government deeply, deeply worrying.
“I’m just pleased the Conservative Party didn’t feel he was fit to be Conservative leader. If Michael had been left to run this [anti-extremism] policy in the way he would run it, we would be seeing the kind of things that we’re now seeing in the White House.”
The “Gove-esque view of the world” is “very much in line” with the anti-Muslim policies of Donald Trump and his “crazy people”, Baroness Warsi added.
“The only difference is in Britain there are too many other rationals among the politicians to say: we're not going down that route.” Nevertheless, she said, “Islamophobia is a bigotry blind spot for us.”
Speaking with the i newspaper, before this week’s terror attack on Westminster, the peer ennobled and promoted by Mr Cameron criticised the Government’s controversial anti-terrorism Prevent strategy for being “bizarrely” misguided.
It was targeting young Muslims, when so many terrorists come from other backgrounds and convert to jihadism with little or no experience of Muslim life, after being preyed upon by extremists, she said.
Mr Cameron, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown all lectured Muslims on what they should do to stop terrorism, leaving their diverse communities feeling alienated and more vulnerable to radicalisation.
Baroness Warsi said: “I felt the David I knew in 2006 was a real person. If I ever went in and had a one-to-one conversation with him, that David would come back again.”
But his speeches became more antagonistic. “Where David was in 2006 was completely different to where he was in 2016.”
The peer’s book, The Enemy Within, analyses the UK’s relationship with its Muslim communities and the dangerous misunderstandings of them.