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High expectations from first Muslim to hold great office of state

8th Jun 2018
High expectations from first Muslim to hold great office of state

(Photo: Chatham House)

Hamed Chapman

Sajid Javid received widespread acclaim from all sides of the House of Commons upon his appointment as Britain’s first Muslim Home Secretary after the resignation of Amber Rudd over the mishandling of the Windrush immigration crisis.

“I congratulate the Home Secretary on his new position occupying one of the great offices of state,” said Shadow Home Secretary, Diana Abbott, on April 30 as she opened an emergency question session on the scandal. Like Javid, she is also a second generation immigrant.

Similarly, Labour MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, offered her congratulations on the promotion of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary. “First, from the daughter of a Pakistani migrant to the son of a Pakistani migrant, mubarak upon your appointment,” she said.

Former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences, George Freeman, who worked under Javid when he was Business Secretary under Prime Minister, David Cameron, paid tribute, saying that “there is no one better to sort out this mess” caused by Windrush scandal.

During the Parliamentary debate, the 47-year old son of a Pakistani bus driver started by making a pledge to all those adversely affected to “do whatever it takes” to put everything right. “Our first priority is to help those members of the Windrush generation,” he said.

Javid faces a full in-tray of huge challenges in his new position, including many that affect the country’s Muslim population, associated with the scourge of terrorism, Islamophobia and alienation caused by draconian laws directed mainly at the community. There are high expectations that his background may offer a unique approach to start to transform the relationship.

SNP Justice and Home Affairs Secretary, Joanna Cherry, also congratulated the new Home Secretary on his appointment. “It is only right to acknowledge the fact that he is the first person from a black and minority ethnic background to hold the office of Secretary of State for the Home Department,” she told MPs.

Another to welcome Javid on his promotion was Labour MP Luciana Berger who said she recognised “his achievement as the first British Asian to be appointed to one of the four great offices of state.”  Conservative MP Rebecca Pow said that Javid “brings his own particular personal insight and integrity.”

Tory Vice Chair, Marcus Jones (Nuneaton), who worked with the new Home Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, was convinced he would do “a diligent and good job.” Party colleagues Alan Mak and Matt Warman respectively described the appointment as “historic” and “ground-breaking.”

Outside Parliament, one of the first to congratulate Javid was Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was also the son of a Pakistani bus driver and previously had been the first Muslim to attend Cabinet. Both have been tipped to eventually become respective leaders of their political parties.

 

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