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One PIO and one PoK-origin MP in Starmer’s new cabinet – Times of India



LONDON: Only one Indian-origin MP, Lisa Nandy, has made it onto the new British prime minister’s cabinet despite there being 19 PIO MPs in the Labour party now.
This is a stark contrast to the cabinet Boris Johnson had formed in July 2019 which was the most diverse in British history. Meanwhile British Pakistani MP Shabana Mahmood, who has been strongly critical of the Indian govt over Kashmir, has been appointed justice secretary.
Manchester-born half-Indian Lisa Nandy (44), a former leadership rival to Starmer, is now secretary of state for culture, media and sport. She has previously held several shadow cabinet roles, including shadow foreign secretary. In Sept 2023 Starmer had demoted her to shadow cabinet minister for international development. Her father is Dipak Nandy, a Kolkata-born academic who lives in the UK and helped draft Labour’s 1976 race relations bill. Her mother is Ann Luise Byers, daughter of the late life peer Lord Byers. She quit as a frontbencher when Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader in June 2019, alongside many other shadow cabinet members, calling for him to step down as leader.
Preet Kaur Gill, once the shadow international development secretary, is not in the new cabinet.
Mahmood, who was shadow justice secretary in Opposition, made a speech at an Independence Day protest on Aug 15, 2019 outside the Indian high commission in London which turned violent and left the mission’s building severely damaged. She had signed a letter to Johnson in 2019 calling on him to “strongly condemn the actions of the Indian govt” and its allegedly “illegal and unconstitutional revocation of Article 370 to annex Kashmir”.
Mahmood was born in Birmingham and her parents were born in the village of Bab-e-yaam in Mirpur, PoK. She supports the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination and has condemned India’s actions in Kashmir many times in tahe House of Commons. She has called for independent observers to be sent to the region.
In July 2029 Johnson gave three cabinet positions to MPs of Indian origin — Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak and Alok Sharma. Other ethnic minorities in that cabinet included James Cleverly, Sajid Javid and Kwasi Kwarteng.
Trupti Patel, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: “I feel the cabinet should be appointed on merit. It is the work it carries out that matters. Rishi got the job as chancellor because he was the best person for the job. I don’t believe in positive discrimination.”
Sunder Katwala, director of think tank British Future, said: “Keir Starmer has less ethnic diversity at the top table. Three of his Cabinet are black and Asian. This now seems low after the previous administration, though it is only a little behind the 14% of the electorate who are from visible minorities.”





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