Muslim politician Sadiq Khan, right, was accused of closet ‘extremism’ by the Conservative Party’s Zac Goldsmith in 2016 [File: Neil Hall/Reuters]

The United Kingdom’s equalities watchdog has abandoned plans to investigate claims of Islamophobia in the ruling Conservative Party, prompting a backlash from critics, Muslim groups and individuals.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) spokesperson said on Tuesday that because the party itself has said it would probe complaints of anti-Muslim discrimination, “it would not be proportionate to initiate our own investigation at this stage”.

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“We will be monitoring the review and requiring the party to provide regular updates on progress. If we are not satisfied with progress or how the investigation is conducted we will review our decision and do not rule

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