In Brexit-Focussed Boris Johnson Cabinet, Indian, Pakistani-Origin Politicians Get Key Ministries

Priti Patel became the first Indian-origin home secretary with Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid moving from the UK Home Office to become the new chancellor.

London, July 25, 2019: Britain’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, began unveiling his top team with the announcement of some key posts on Wednesday evening since taking charge at Downing Street earlier in the day.

In a cabinet that was already being touted as the most diverse in British history, Priti Patel became the first Indian-origin home secretary with Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid moving from the UK Home Office to become the new chancellor, Alok Sharma as the International Development Secretary and Rishi Sunak as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Patel and Sunak, who is the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy and writer Sudha Murthy, are both staunch Brexiteers.

Patel will now be in charge of the UK’s security, immigration and visa policies. Rishi Sunak would be the Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Patel described the job of home secretary as a “great honour”, which comes with “significant responsibilities”.

“I will do everything in my power to keep our country safe, our people secure, and also to fight the scourge of crime that we see on our streets. I look forward to the challenges that now lie ahead,” she said.

Rishi Sunak, the 39-year-old Conservative Party MP, who is married to Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy’s daughter Akshata, is an MBA graduate and investment expert will take charge of one of the most important jobs in the UK Treasury, serving under the new Chancellor, Sajid Javid.

India-born Alok Sharma was first elected as a member of Parliament in 2010, following a career in accounting and banking.

He backed Johnson in the Conservative Party leadership contest as the leader best placed to launch a “coherent unambiguous plan to deliver Brexit and take us out of the European Union.”

The 51-year-old Conservative Party MP who was serving as employment minister has been promoted to a full-fledged Cabinet post in the Department for International Development (DfID), where he will be in charge of the UK’s aid budget and partnerships.

“We will work across the whole of government to deliver Brexit and make sure UK aid is tackling global challenges that affect us all, such as climate change, disease and humanitarian disasters,” said Sharma, in reference to his new job.

In a team that is fairly Brexit-focussed, Dominic Raab, who had resigned as the Brexit secretary from Theresa May’s cabinet, is back in the frontline as the new foreign secretary. He replaces Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s opponent in the contest for Tory leadership, who said he was “kindly” offered another job by the new PM, but felt “now is the time” to return to the backbenches.

The posts will continue to be finalised over the course of Thursday when Johnson is set to address his first House of Commons session as the prime minister.

Boris Johnson’s Indian roots

PM Johnson has in the past described himself as a son-in-law of India by virtue of his now estranged wife Marina Wheeler’s Indian mother Dip Singh Kaur.  Dip Singh was married to Khushwant Singh’s youngest brother, Daljit Singh.

Before they announced their separation last year after 25 years of marriage, Johnson had travelled several times to India with Marina. They have four children together.

(PTI)

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