UK council gets first Sikh woman cabinet member
Jasbir Jaspal, who was elected from Heath Town in Wolverhampton in the May 2 local elections, has been appointed to the council’s cabinet by the new leader, Ian Brookfield (Labour), making her the first Sikh woman to hold the post.
Jaspal, who has been a councillor in the City of Wolverhampton Council since 2012, is responsible for policy areas that include resilience and business continuity, community safety and cohesion, healthy ageing and healthy life expectancy.
“This is a big step up for me and I am ready for the challenge, having done health scrutiny for three years. It is a proud moment for the Sikh community to have a female member of the Cabinet. It is probably long overdue, considering the high Sikh population in the city,” she said.
“I hope to be able to represent all of the communities in Wolverhampton. There are issues with violent crime in the city – particularly knives and guns. It simply has to be a priority, and I am keen to reach out to everyone to see what the council can do to deal with these problems,” Jaspal said.
Hailing from Kala Sanghian, Jalandhar, Jaspal moved to Wolverhampton aged 2, and has since lived in the city in the west Midlands with a large population of Indian and Sikh origin. Her husband, Milkinder Jaspal, is also a councillor and former mayor.
Of the 60 seats in the City of Wolverhampton Council, Labour won 50 and Conservative 10. Those elected include Payal Bedi-Chadha, Bhupinder Gakhal, Rashpal Kaur, Rupinderjit Kaur, Asha Mattu, Gurmukh Singh, Paul Singh and Udey Singh.