At least four ministers have gone on election campaigning trips to endorse Tory candidates facing allegations of Islamophobia since the claims against them came to light, the Guardian has learned.
In constituency visits that appear to contradict Boris Johnson’s repeated claim that the party has a “zero tolerance” stance on the issue, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock, Andrea Leadsom and Thérèse Coffey have thrown their weight behind the accused candidates – all of whom are fighting in key marginal battlegrounds.
Incidents include one candidate who argued that Muslims have divided loyalties, as well as blaming immigrants for bringing HIV to Britain, and another who retweeted posts from former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.
Johnson himself has also posed shaking hands with a Conservative candidate accused of sending an anti-Muslim tweet to Nobel Peace prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, 22. It is understood the photograph was taken after the party became aware of the tweet.
The disclosures came as the Tories face increasing pressure over Islamophobia following a slew of revelations, with the Equality and Human Rights Commission considering whether to launch a formal investigation into the party.