David Cameron has told an audience at an award ceremony he wants to see an Asian Prime Minister within his lifetime. The GG2 Leadership Awards recognise contributions by the Asian community to British life, and this year’s top award went to the Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid.
At the ceremony Mr Cameron said: “When I hear ‘sir’, ‘your honour’ or ‘right honourable’, I want them to be followed by a British Asian name. One day I want to hear that title ‘Prime Minister’ followed by a British Asian name.”
The Prime Minister described Mr Javid as “the brilliant Asian man who I asked to join the Cabinet” and said he was “incredibly proud” of him. He continued: “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.”
Cameron went on to complain about the lack of ethnic minorities holding senior posts within companies.
He said: “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. Because Britain will only be the best it can be when its people – when all its people – are all they can be.
“So I think there are three big things we, everyone here, can do: first, remove the barriers that stop people getting on. Second, attack prejudice. And third, celebrate role models. Because only then can we create a country where everyone – whatever their background – can get on.”
This is not the first time Cameron has taken steps to bring more Asians into the top level of politics. Sayeeda Warsi was given a seat in the House of Lords despite having only limited experience of front-line politics after running for a safe Labour seat.
She went on to be given a senior ministerial job, which she resigned from in disgust at the government’s policy over Gaza. Warsi remains an unpopular figure within the Conservative Party and has aquired the nickname “Baroness Token” amongst MPs.
Javid’s award, along with the endorsement by Cameron, has put him one step closer to the Conservative leadership. The popular and widely-respected MP is expected to mount a serious challenge to the frontrunner George Osborne when Cameron steps down.