Conservative Party Chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin encourages British Asians to engage in mainstream politics….writes Reena Ranger
As the Conservative Party prepares to welcome a record number of attendees to the annual conference which begins today in Birmingham, Chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP, renews the party’s commitment to the 2015 manifesto and continuing to work towards their goal of diverse representation.
Sir Patrick is relying on his experience as a miner turned minister and now party chief as an example to highlight the meritocracy in the Conservative Party.
“British Asians are one of the pillars of the society and the Conservatives are the real platform for them to share their concerns and find solution,” Sir Patrick told Asian Lite.
During the last election, about 48 per cent of Indians voted for Conservatives. As the Labour indulged in an internecine fight over leadership, there will be an exodus from the party and the Conservatives are aiming to attract them.
Sir Patrick emphasises that UK is a great county to invest in and do business with. The former transport minister who supervised the reformation of the British railways during his tenure, said Britain is a country that encourages and rewards entrepreneurs.
“In the wake of the nation’s decision at the EU Referendum, the country will now broaden its reach through outward looking,” said Sir Patrick. “We will renew our historic ties with countries like India. Ministers will now start and continue conversations with India with regards to trade and collaboration. Talks about visa rules along with trade and investment opportunities will undoubtedly be a part of the conversation.”
The Conservative chairman will address the Conference saying that he would like a party that is blind to colour and race and open and accessible to all those who share its values.
Sir Patrick is aiming to reach out to people of all backgrounds and communities and letting them know that there is a place for them in the Conservative Party.
“The Party is open, friendly and accessible to whomever wants to join them with shared values and principles,” Sir Patrick added.
Sir Patrick pays tribute to former prime minister David Cameron for his successful leadership to the party at a crucial period.
“David took over as leader of the Conservative Party when the party consisted of 198 MPs and at the end of his leadership, we had 330 MPs,” Sir Patrick said.
He credits Cameron with beginning the increase in diversity of representation in terms of sex, ethnicity, background and working towards parliament reflecting the makeup of the nation today. The commitments remains to continue to strive to encourage the broadest range of candidates for seats building upon the strides made in the diverse candidate selection and election at the last general election. The conservatives had 36 British Asian candidates standing at the 2015 election, the most of any political party and returned 17 MP’s with some way to go, compared with Labour’s 23 BME MP’s.
With Eid and Diwali receptions to be held at Downing Street, Sir Patrick welcomes the appointment of Mr Sailesh Vara MP as the new Co-Chair of Conservative Friends of India. He is confident that Mr Vara will do a fantastic job and will also look into ways to increase the number of British Asians coming through the pipeline towards various elected posts.