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Downing Street has launched a formal investigation into allegations of Islamophobia made by Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani – just hours after the government claimed a probe was unnecessary.

Ghani – who says she was dismissed as transport minister in 2020 because of concerns raised by Chief Whip Mark Spencer about her “Muslimness” – was urged by Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, to submit a formal complaint to CCHQ.

However, the Prime Minister has flipped 180 degrees on the issue and ordered the Cabinet Office to investigate the matter after speaking to the Wealden MP over the phone.

Spencer fought back with a thread of tweets – which were deleted and then reposted – calling Ghani’s admission “defamatory”.

Lord Geidt, the independent adviser on ministers’ interests and Boris Johnson’s Wallpaper inquisitor, looks set to lead the investigation.

There had been growing calls for an inquiry, with senior Tories, including Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, forcing pressure on the PM and coming out in support of Ghani.

Ghani’s intervention is significant. She shares the title of vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee with William Wragg who – like Ghani – has railed against the Whip’s Office in the past few days, accusing Number 10 of trying to blackmail backbenchers seeking to oust the PM.

Boris Johnson now faces two inquiries at once, both into alleged wrongdoing at the heart of government. As if this week could not have started any worse for a PM battling to save his premiership.