Home secretary Sajid Javid has described how he faces constant criticism for being “too brown” from the Right and for being “not brown enough” from the Left.
In an interview with the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, Javid said that he had “sadly got used to” it and had come to expect social media abuse.
“I get it from the far left, including lots of Asians, who say: ‘He’s not brown enough.’ I get it from the right, and the far right in particular, saying: ‘He’s too brown,'” Javid said.
“They believe, whether they are coming from the far left or far right, that someone’s colour should define who they are – or their background, their faith, or something, that characteristic, rather than the content of their character.”
The home secretary said he had tried to fight abuse “in every government role I have ever been in”.
He said: “I try to fight it more broadly in terms of the work I do, especially through the Home Office and the important role we have in fighting hate crime, but I’ve tried to do it in every government role I’ve ever been in.”
Javid is one among the several touted as contenders to replace prime minister Theresa May as Conservative leader.
When questioned if Britain was ready for a Muslim prime minister, Javid, a non-practicing Muslim whose parents came to the UK from Pakistan, said anyone can become the prime minister, irrespective of their background or faith.
“I think in Britain anyone who’s capable, regardless of whether they’re Muslim or Hindu, for that matter, or any other religion or no religion, can be prime minister.”