Vastavam web: A prominent Indian-origin peer in the House of Lords on Wednesday said he believes that Britain’s Prime Minister-in-waiting, Boris Johnson, will appoint one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse Cabinets in history.
With British Indian Conservative Party parliamentarians Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak and Alok Sharma all tipped for frontline jobs in the new Cabinet, Lord Jitesh Gadhia said it signals the incoming prime minister’s very different approach to politics and critical issues such as immigration.
“Boris Johnson will appoint the most ethnically diverse Cabinet in British history. This is a big moment and a bold statement by the incoming prime minister. It proves that in modern Britain you can reach the highest office regardless of your background or origins,” Gadhia said.
Johnson won the Conservative Party leadership election by a landslide, defeating foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt by 92,153 votes to 46,656 after the results of a month-long contest were announced on Tuesday. The 55-year-old ardent Brexiteer is set to take formal charge at the 10 Downing Street later on Wednesday, when Theresa May’s term as a caretaker prime minister will come to an end with her final Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons and then a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II to tender her resignation.
The 93-year-old monarch will then invite Johnson to form the new government, following which he will make his first speech on the steps of Downing Street before heading indoors to finalise his team of Cabinet ministers. Patel, a fellow Brexiteer alongside Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, have both been prominent members of the “Back Boris” campaign and are widely expected to be in the top team.
Alok Sharma, a junior minister in the May Cabinet, is expected to be promoted by being given charge of his own ministry. The PM-elect’s confidants have also indicated that he is keen to redress the gender balance in Cabinet by appointing a large number of female lawmakers.
Gadhia believes Johnson will send out a strong unifying message with the new appointments, expected to be finalised this week before Parliament breaks for its summer recess from Friday. The peer, who hosted the first India Day in the Parliament last month, also expects that Johnson would be “pro-India” and establish a close rapport for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“During his leadership campaign, he expressed his strong desire for India to be one of the most important partners for UK on the global stage. Boris was among the first global leaders to congratulate Prime Minister Modi following his recent election victory and welcomed his optimistic vision of New India and looked forward to an even closer partnership between UK and India in the years ahead,” he said.