Baroness Warsi calls on Sajid Javid to be the voice of ethnic minorities

'He does not define himself in the way that I define myself'

Whitehall Editor

Britain’s first Muslim cabinet minister today calls on the Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, to step up and reflect the views of the UK’s non-white population at the heart of Government.

Sayeeda Warsi has warned that she was concerned the Conservatives might not win a majority at the next election unless the party started attracting more ethnic minority voters.

Now she is urging Mr Javid, who is the most senior non-white member of the Government, to “reflect the views and perspectives” of non-white voters at cabinet table.

“I think Sajid is a great financial brain and is destined for great things within the party,” she told The Independent.

“But he does not define himself in the way that I define myself in terms of background and identity. That is a choice for him. I sincerely hope he steps into that role now that I’m not there.

“Sajid will be the only non-white person around that table and I hope that he will reflect the views and perspectives that maybe some of our other colleagues don’t have.”

On Sunday Baroness Warsi, who resigned as a Foreign Office minister over the Government’s position on Gaza last week, hit out at “public school” Tories around David Cameron who had dismissed her as “a brown, working-class woman not good enough” to serve in government.

But she said she was encouraged by the number of Conservative figures with diverse backgrounds rising quickly in the party, in particular Priti Patel, Sam Gyimah and Shailesh Vara.

“Cameron has now set a trend where it is no longer unfashionable to be black or brown in the Conservative Party,” she said.

“There was a time when ethnic minority politicians would join the Conservative Party and pretend they were not ethnic minorities because they felt that if they were themselves they would hinder the chances of progress. But that has now changed.”

However she was also concerned by the loss of liberal progressive figures within the Government at the last reshuffle, such as Dominic Grieve and Ken Clarke.

“One of the biggest reasons for my resignation was the concerns around human rights and international justice,” she said.

Downing Street has declined to criticise Lady Warsi for her comments although privately there is irritation that, by characterising those around Mr Cameron as “public school” boys, she has exploited an area where the party is weak.

“As the Prime Minister made clear in his letter to Baroness Warsi last week, he valued her contribution as a minister – and before that in opposition – and was disappointed by her decision to resign,” a Downing Street source said.

But Alec Shelbrooke, a Tory backbencher, said Lady Warsi had “embarrassed herself” and her criticisms would “quickly fizzle out”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'