Boris Johnson apologised for the ‘hurt and offence’ that has been caused by Islamophobia within the Tory party.
The prime minister said his party would hold an inquiry into “every manner of prejudice and discrimination” in his party, adding that it would start before Christmas.
The Conservatives had been criticised for their handling of Islamophobia allegations by the Muslim Council of Britain, who accused the party of “denial, dismissal and deceit”.
Johnson, speaking on a visit to Goonhilly Earth Station on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, told reporters: “Obviously whenever we have an incident of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia or whatever in the Conservative Party we take a zero tolerance approach… We have a one bounce and we deal with it approach to this.
“We are going to have an independent inquiry into Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, every manner of prejudice and discrimination and it will start before Christmas.”
Asked if he apologised for the Islamophobia that has taken place in the Tory Party, he replied: “Of course and for all the hurt and offence that has been caused – of course we do.
“And all that is intolerable and it’s so important as a country that we don’t allow that kind of thing and that’s why we’re going to have the independent inquiry.”
The comments came as Jeremy Corbyn faced pressure to apologise to the Jewish community after failing to when pressed during a 30-minute grilling on the BBC by veteran journalist Andrew Neil on Tuesday evening.
But senior Labour frontbenchers had insisted their leader had apologised previously.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Of course we’re sorry for the hurt caused,
“Jeremy has apologised on a number of occasions and said that he’s sorry for the very real hurt felt by people in the Jewish community.
“So, on a number of occasions last summer for example, he has made those statements and it’s right that he did.”