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Asian to lead Britain one day: David Cameron

world Updated: Nov 07, 2014 00:32 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
David Cameron

Six months before the next general elections, Prime Minister David Cameron has begun wooing the increasingly influential Indian and Asian vote, declaring that he wants to see an Asian as the prime minister of Britain in his lifetime.

Regretting the lack of diversity in various spheres of public life, Cameron told the annual GG2 Leadership Awards event on Wednesday evening that Britain “will only be the best it can be when its people — when all its people — are all they can be”.

Continuing the laudatory remarks about Indians and Asians made at recent Diwali events, he said to much applause: “In Britain today there are still too few ethnic minorities in top positions. Let us think big about what Britons of all backgrounds can achieve. When I hear ‘sir’, ‘your honour’ or ‘right honourable’, I want them to be followed by a British Asian name”.

Cameron added: “The absence is glaring in the boardrooms of the FTSE 250, in the chambers of the Houses of Parliament, on football managers’ benches; on high court judges’ benches and in our fighter jets, our naval ships, our armed battalions around the world.

‘I am clear: this has to change. Not to tick boxes or fulfil quotas – but to fulfil potential”.

Cameron described Culture secretary Sajid Javid as ‘brilliant’, and said he was ‘incredibly proud’ of Javid, “the brilliant Asian man who I asked to join the Cabinet”, adding: “Doesn’t it say something that in two generations you can go from coming to our country with so little to sitting around the Cabinet table. That is the sort of country we are building in the United Kingdom.”

Pakistan-origin Javid was declared the most influential Asian in a list that included Pakistan education activist Malala Yusufzai, Labour MP Keith Vaz, industrialist Swraj Paul and his son Angad Paul, and entrepreneur Ghulam Noon.