Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups created to foster Britain’s ruling Conservative party’s connect with South Asian origin electorate came together in a show of unity in London this week to welcome UK’s first British Asian Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The Conservative Friends of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh organised a special event on Thursday evening to celebrate the “historic appointment” of Pakistani-origin Javid to one of the senior-most Cabinet posts in the country earlier this year.
“This is an example of all our communities working together as the very best of friends,” said Javid, 48, during his speech at the event, where he was joined by his mother, brothers, wife and children.
“It is on the shoulders of my mum and dad that I stand before you…We are bigger than the cultural heritage we represent. We are a core part of the country’s offering and an indispensable asset to British society,” said Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver who migrated to Britain in the 1960s.
He took charge as the UK Home Secretary at the end of April after his predecessor Amber Rudd was forced to step down amid an escalating Windrush immigration scandal involving the unfair treatment of Commonwealth citizens, largely from the Caribbean.
British prime minister Theresa May’s decision to appoint the son of Commonwealth immigrants to the crucial post was widely seen as a way to curtail the brewing backlash.
This week’s event was the brainchild of Indian-origin entrepreneur Rami Ranger, the co-chair of the Conservative Friends of India (CFI), who was joined by his counterparts – Zameer Choudrey of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan (CFP) and Bajloor Rashid of the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh (CFB).
“We have come together to celebrate the first-ever British Asian to hold such a senior Cabinet post and applaud Asian success as well as unity between Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in this country,” said Ranger, Founder & CEO of Sun Mark Ltd.
“Traditionally, the Labour party was seen as the natural home for Asians but that trend has changed as more and more Asians turn towards the Conservative party. So, watch this space,” added Rashid, a UK-based restaurateur who urged the minister to look into the crisis faced by Britain’s curry industry.
“We are struggling to recruit the right staff but there has been no hint of policy change from the government. We finally have a louder voice in Parliament,” he said.
British electorate with roots in the Indian subcontinent have been traditionally seen as favouring the left-leaning ideals of the Opposition Labour party, leading to the Tories making a decisive play for this significant ethnic minority vote-bank that is believed to hold the key to crucial constituencies in any general election.
Tory party chair Brandon Lewis was categorical in his message to the gathering that the mission was to ensure that the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is not elected Prime Minister in any future poll.
“We need members from your community to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn never gets the key to Downing Street,” he said.