The Government has been accused of a "pernicious form of racism" by a Muslim MP for rejecting a widely accepted definition of Islamophobia.

Labour's Naz Shah (Bradford West) attacked the Conservatives as a "party in denial" of its own problem with Islamophobia, that was "not serious about the safety and security of British Muslims".

She revealed that she feared for her own safety, in an emotional speech to the Commons during a backbench debate on the issue.

For the Government, Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said there needed to be a "formal definition" of Islamophobia although it must command "broad support" within communities and wider society - something he said a definition proposed by a group of politicians "at this stage does not yet meet".

He added that two "advisers" would be appointed as the Government sought to arrive "swiftly" at a collective position.

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Shah said: "If it is down to women to define the experience of feminism, the experiences of people of colour to define racism, the experience of Jews to define anti-Semitism, the experience of the LGBTQ+ communities to define homophobia, I ask the minister how dare he tell the British Muslims that our experiences cannot define Islamophobia.

"If that isn't a pernicious form of racism then what is it?"

Attacking the Conservative Party for rejecting calls from its former chairman Baroness Warsi to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia, she said it was "hypocrisy of the highest order" when dealing with Islamophobes to "publicly suspend them and privately sneak them back in when they think nobody's watching".

She tearfully talked about the deadly attack in Christchurch earlier this year, and read out abusive comments that were sent to her in the wake of the killings.

Ms Shah said: "I ask, which Muslim's life must go next for us to simply recognise and understand Islamophobia?

"And never before have I shared this openly, but I do question as many Muslims across this country do, which Muslim's life will be next, will it be mine?"

She called on the Government to "rethink this decision" after it rejected the definition of Islamophobia drafted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, which has been accepted by a number of other political parties, saying "further careful consideration" over the wording was needed.

Her Labour colleague, Wes Streeting (Ilford North), accused the Conservatives of making "the same mistakes" as Labour did with anti-Semitism.

The co-chairman of the APPG told MPs: "The same miserable, inexcusable pattern of dismissal, denial and delegitimisation of serious concerns raised by prominent Muslims about racism within their ranks."

He called for the definition to be adopted more widely but Tory MP Sir John Hayes (South Holland and the Deeping) asked if it was helpful.

He said: "The debate we're having is not about the intent. Not about our shared commitment to deal with hatred or prejudice. Whether this definition or this APPG report moves things on or whether it doesn't.

"There are different opinions about that and not all of those opinions are spiteful or unhelpful or deliberately obstructive. They are opinions made in good faith."

Labour's Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr) said the "issue of Islamophobia is not defined" in the APPG's report and said British Muslims should be proud and should "start to move away from the victim mentality and be positive about who we are".

Shadow Home Office minister Afzal Khan said the APPG's definition already had the "widespread support" of over 750 groups.

He added: "The Government does not need to reinvent the wheel, the definition has the support of many organisations."

Mr Brokenshire said some of the examples of Islamophobia raised during the debate were "utterly shocking".

He added: "As a country, we are stronger because of the contribution British Muslims make at every level and in so many different ways.

"It is right that we should celebrate and be proud of this rich diversity.

"British Muslims make this country, our country, so special and the place that we all rightly call home."

On the definition of Islamophobia, Mr Brokenshire welcomed the work of the APPG on British Muslims but said it was vital to get the definition right.

He said of the APPG's work: "The proposal at its heart defines Islamophobia as a type of racism and I say to MPs I'm in no doubt that racism forms a part of the bigotry that we need to confront.

"But combining race and religion together within the definition causes legal and practical issues."

Mr Brokenshire also said there were some "potential consequences for freedom of speech", which he noted was not the intention of the group.

He added: "It is clear that with such a complex subject, we need to interrogate this further as a matter of urgency."

By Alain Tolhurst and George Ryan,