Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into claims made by a Muslim MP who says her faith was given as a reason for her sacking as a minister in 2020.
Nusrat Ghani said a government whip told her “Muslimness was raised as an issue”.
The Conservative MP welcomed the inquiry, saying all she wanted was for the matter to be taken seriously.
Conservative Chief Whip Mark Spencer said the claims were completely false.
He said Ghani was referring to him and that he considered her allegations to be defamatory.
Responding to news of the inquiry ,Ghani: “As I said to the prime minister last night all I want is for this to be taken seriously and for him to investigate.
“I welcome his decision to do that now. The terms of reference of the inquiry must include all that was said in Downing Street and by the whip. I look forward to seeing the terms of reference.”
A No 10 spokesperson said: “At the time these allegations were first made, the prime minister recommended to her that she make a formal complaint to CCHQ [Conservative Campaign Headquarters]. She did not take up this offer.
“The prime minister has now asked officials to establish the facts about what happened. “As he said at the time, the prime minister takes these claims very seriously.”
Speaking on Sunday, Ghani said when she was previously invited to use the internal Conservative Party complaint process, she did not because it was “very clearly not appropriate for something that happened on government business”.