CCHQ will be relieved that the findings of the the long-expected independent investigation into alleged discrimination within the party. A number of key findings rejected critic charges and found in favour of the party on an institutional basis:
The report also says the Muslim Council of Britain, who questioned the impartiality of the investigation chair, failed to provide evidence despite being asked on multiple occasions.
The report does recommend points of improvement for the party, not least “clear evidence of a Party complaints system in need of overhaul”, with claims the party’s Complaints Team is under-resourced and inadequately trained. It also points to:
The most substantive criticism is of weak local party association systems for identifying discrimination, rather than at national level at CCHQ.
Hacks will no doubt focus on the section relating to Boris’s “letterboxes” column. The PM repeated his usual excuse of having written “millions of words as a journalist” and some things had been taken out of context, however he does say sorry:
“I am obviously sorry for any offence taken. Would I use some of the offending language from my past writings today? Now that I am PM, I would not.”
The report also notes that comments such as those by the PM, and Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign, “give the impression to many that the Party and its leadership are insensitive to Muslim communities”. The report’s author, Professor Swaran Singh, says crucially: “I’m not saying that the party leadership IS insensitive to Muslim communities. I’m saying that the perception is very strong.” CCHQ says they’re considering the report and will respond later today, though the PM indicated to the chair he will implement many of the inquiry’s findings…
UPDATE: Guido learns a CCHQ meeting of all affiliate groups just took place. The party is now asking for feedback on the complaints process. The party were keen to highlight how “it’s good the report showed there was no political interference”