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Sunday Dec 22 2019

Racism concerns raised over Zac Goldsmith’s appointment in Lords

Ousted by Liberal Democrats, Goldsmith was reappointed as environment minister by PM Boris Johnson. Photo: File 

LONDON: Labour Party and Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson for sending Zac Goldsmith to the House of Lords so he can keep his ministerial job despite losing his seat in the election.

Goldsmith, ousted for a second time by the Liberal Democrats in Richmond Park, was made a life peer and reappointed as environment minister by the prime minister as he happens to be a friend of both Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds.

Labour has accused Johnson of presiding over “government-appointed jobs for mates”.

The MCB has said that Goldsmith ran a dangerous racist campaign against British-Pakistani London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB said, “For Zac Goldsmith to be given a peerage and position in Cabinet despite his racist campaign for London mayor, illustrates how racism is not only accepted but even rewarded by the government.

“Serious questions must be asked about how the Conservative Party can say one thing and do the complete opposite when it comes to Islamophobia.”

Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister, commenting on Johnson appointing Goldsmith to the Lords, said, “It says everything you need to know about Boris Johnson’s respect for democracy that he has ignored the voters of Richmond Park and appointed Goldsmith to government. The public deserve better than a government appointed by ‘jobs for mates’.

“At a time when the Conservatives are investigating racism in their party, they have appointed the person who ran an overtly racist campaign against Sadiq Khan. Zac Goldsmith is not fit to hold any government position.”

Downing Street said, “The Rt Hon Zac Goldsmith has been confirmed as a Minister of State (unpaid) at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for International Development.

“The Queen has been pleased to signify her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Zac Goldsmith,” they added.

Goldsmith's campaign was criticised for using “dog-whistle politics” and racist or Islamophobic campaigning by trying to link Khan with Islamic extremism.

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