January 2022 \ Editor's Desk \ Editor’s Desk
Editor’s Desk

In November 2015, while addressing a gathering of 60,000 Indians at London’s Wembley stadium, David Cameron, the then British Prime Minister, had famously remarked that it wouldn’t be very long before 10 Downing Street had a British-Indian PM.

By Sayantan Chakravarty

Indians were traditionally under-represented in the Conservative Party. It is the Labour Party that had first given a ticket to Keith Vaz, a PIO, in 1987. Since that time the number of MPs of Indian descent swelled in the party till 2010. That is about when Mr Cameron decided that the anomaly of Indian underrepresentation in the Conservative Party needed to be rectified firmly. He was instrumental in making PIOs Priti Patel and Alok Sharma Members of Parliament in 2010—today they have risen to be important ministers in the Cabinet. While Ms Patel became an MP from Witham, Essex in 2010, Mr Sharma was elected the same year from Reading West.

Five years later Mr Cameron awarded a seat to Mr Sunak, and he’s risen steadily ever since in the Governmental hierarchy. Mr Sunak has been a Member of Parliament for Richmond (Yorks) in North Yorkshire since 2015. Within the Conservative Party itself there are calls for change. Boris Johnson has been found to have partied a little recklessly during the C-19 lockdown, violating strict norms of social distancing laid down by the very Government that he heads. He’s also been targeted for refurbishing his apartment with money that belongs to his political party, and also for protecting some of those accused of sleaze. Not only are his approval ratings at this point in time sinking very low, his political star is dimming quickly as well. According to a Conservative Home survey, the current Prime Minister is the most unpopular member of the Cabinet with a net approval score of minus 34 percent. Nearly half of a thousand Tories surveyed want Rishi Sunak to become Prime Minister. They think he’ll do a far better job than the current PM. Whether Mr Sunak feels up to taking up the job is another matter altogether.

The British public is clearly unhappy. Another comprehensive opinion poll indicated that if a general election were to be held now, the Conservatives would lose 111 seats in the House of Commons, including Mr Johnson’s. And the Labour Party would emerge as the largest single party, within striking distance of an absolute majority. So the Tories want change within.

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