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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen