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Pak woman becomes Britain's deputy FM

05 September, 2012

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LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday in his first major cabinet reshuffle removed Baroness Saeeda Warsi from co-chairman of Conservative Party and appointed her as a Foreign Office and Faith and Communities Minister.

Saeeda Warsi is an Asian descendant and the first British-Pakistani woman who has become the Foreign Office minister in British history. Downing Street aides described her job as a "senior minister of state", apparently inventing a new distinction between middle-ranking ministers. Lady Warsi announced she was stepping down last night with a message posted on her Twitter account, saying it had been a "privilege and an honour to serve my party". At the weekend she appealed David Cameron to let her keep the post in order to win seats in the North, telling the our sources, "I'm a woman, I'm not white, I'm from an urban area, I'm from the North, I'm working class – I kind of fit the bill. All the groups that we're aiming for are groups that I'm familiar with."

Baroness Warsi told a reporter, while attending the US Republican convention last week, that Americans had been amazed that a Muslim, Asian female could hold such a prestigious post; actually, many Tories were equally amazed that she had been allowed to keep her job for as long as she did. Warsi was never popular with the rump of the Tory party. She was accused of being strident, and of keeping too low a media profile and although she was cleared of allegations that she wrongly claimed parliamentary expenses, her reputation never totally recovered.

According to the British media, no one should write off Lady Warsi. She is a feisty politician, who dares take on the macho culture that characterises so many Conservatives but also so many Muslims. When Asian gangs were revealed to be grooming young white girls, it was Warsi who challenged her community to clean up their act. She was no less fearless when it came to challenging liberal hypocrisy. At one dinner party she said that anti-Muslim prejudice was acceptable.


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