Rishi Sunak and other Indian ties to British Politics

The Indian diaspora is now the largest immigrant group in the UK, as well as being a fast-growing and high-earning one.

Guest Writer

The author is Seb Jenkins a freelance journalist based in London.

When Rishi Sunak was appointed the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2022, it was a historical day for British politics, no matter where your views and allegiances lie. Sunak became the first Indian Prime Minister in history, and the first person of colour to make the walk into number 10 Downing Street. That kind of Indian representation at the very top of British politics has never been seen before, but we are seeing more British-Indians being handed prominent roles in government of late. 

The 2021 Census showed that 1,864,318 people in England and Wales listed themselves under Indian ethnicity, which accounted for 3.1% of the population. The Indian diaspora is now the largest immigrant group in the UK, as well as being a fast-growing and high-earning one. In fact, during Boris Johnson’s time in charge, two of the four most important berths were held by British Indians. 

A study in 2021 also found that four in ten Indians identify with the Labour Party, compared to three in ten who supported the Conservatives. However, Indian voters were trending away from Labour and towards the Tories at the time.
Rishi Sunak – Conservative

Not only is Rishi Sunak the current Prime Minister, but he has also been trusted with numerous prominent roles over the past decade. He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer between 2020 and 2022, as well as the Chief Secretary of the Treasury in the year preceding. He remains the leader of the Conservative Party and the MP for Richmond. He was born in Southampton to parents of Indian descent, with his mother and father immigrating to the UK in the 1960s from East Africa. 

Priti Patel – Conservative 
Between 2016 and 2017, Priti Patel served as the Secretary of State for International Development, before becoming the Home Secretary between 2019 and 2022. She is the current member of parliament for Witham. Priti Patel was born to parents of Indian heritage who immigrated in the 1960s. Her grandparents were born in Gujarat, India. 

Alok Sharma – Conservative  
Alok Sharma is the current MP for Reading West and has held numerous important roles throughout his long political career. The highlights being his time as Minister of State for Housing, Minister of State for Employment, Secretary of State for International Development, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, and President for COP26.  

Suella Braverman – Conservative 
Suella Braverman is the current Home Secretary under Rishi Sunak’s government, and also held the same position under Liz Truss. She is the MP for Fareham and has previously served as the Attorney General for England and Wales. Her parents are both of Indian origin and immigrated to the UK in the 1960s. 

Shailesh Vara – Conservative   
Shailesh Vara was the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in 2022, as well as the Minster of State in 2018. He is the current MP for Northwest Cambridgeshire. Vara was born in Uganda to Gujarati Indian immigrants, and moved to the UK when he was just four years old. ​ 

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