Sajid Javid is a British politician and a former Managing Director at Deutsche Bank. A member of the Conservative Party, he was appointed Home Secretary on 30 April 2018. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bromsgrove in Worcestershire since the general election of 2010.
On Friday 10th May, Javid told “Political Thinking presenter Nick Robinson he had come to expect social media abuse”. He was quoted as saying: “I get it from the far left, including lots of Asians, who say: ‘He’s not brown enough.’ I get it from the right, and the far right in particular, saying: ‘He’s too brown,'”.suggesting the these moments implicated that the UK was “not ready for a Muslim PM”.
The Home Secretary then went on to refute the racial comments by stating: “I think in Britain, anyone who is capable, regardless of whether they are Muslim, or Hindu for that matter, or any religion – or no religion – can be prime minister.”
“There are some forces that wouldn’t like that but I think the forces against that are much, much stronger. And if you look around the world and you compare Britain to other leading industrial democratic countries, we are way ahead.”
There are two ways Javid’s statement to Buzzfeed can be interpreted. The first being the Javid genuinely believes that given the blatant racism of the UK is easy to overcome regardless of all the red tape and underlying restrictions facing people of colour and ethnic minorities on a daily basis. Or he is simply playing the role of a politician and feeding us a utopian perspective of Britain. Either way, it can be deemed as naive to believe that simply anyone can become even a politician let alone Prime Minister and this is self-proven given the ethnic and gender make up of the House of Commons.
According to Parliament.uk, ” 8% of MPs in the House of Commons and around 6% of Members of the House of Lords are from an ethnic minority background”. In addition, results from the 2011 UK census, 13.3% of the population in greater London are Black / African / Caribbean / Black British people, 18.4% Asian and 59.8% White. The most recent estimate from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Population Survey 2016 reported that 13.6% of the UK population is non-white.
The Home Secretary’s belief that anyone, regardless of their ethnicity, experience or religion, can become Prime Minister is limited by these statistics to simply a pleasant sound-bite.
On the contrary, the 2017 general election provided the most diverse Parliament yet. The number of ethnic minority female MPs in the House of Commons increased from 3.0% in 2015 (20 of 650) to 4% in 2017 (26 of 650).
According to BBC News, “the general election of 1987 saw the first ever black MPs voted into the House of Commons. Fast forward 30 years and the 2017 result has seen 52 ethnic minority MPs elected, of those, 32 are Labour, 19 Conservatives and one Lib Dem. It is an increase from 41 in 2015 and the highest number ever”.
Though Sajid Javid’s comments to Buzzfeed seemed to come across as a far-fetched utopian wish, there is an undeniable increase in representation in Parliament that increases the possibility of this wish becoming true.