Adam Thomson

British High Commissioner to Pakistan

Part of UK in Pakistan

18th May 2010 Islamabad, Pakistan

Britain decides!

For British citizens the outcome of last week’s General Election has been pretty remarkable.  For the first time since the Second World War we have a coalition government.  And we have the prospect of some quite substantial constitutional change: legislation to give Parliament a fixed term of five years, a referendum on whether to move to a new system of voting, reform of our Upper House to make it wholly or partially elected by proportional representation.  Stirring stuff for a country whose unwritten constitution normally only evolves slowly.
Within this election outcome, there were also some pretty remarkable, stirring developments for British Muslims and especially British citizens of Pakistani origin.  Compared to the four Muslims of which three were of Pakistani origin in the last House of Commons, the number of Muslim members of Parliament doubled to eight of which most are British Pakistani.  Moreover, of these eight three are women, two of them of Pakistani origin.  And for the first time ever in the British Cabinet there is a full member who is Muslim, a  woman and of Pakistani origin.  Baroness Warsi is already a member of Britain’s Upper House and, now, Chair of the Conservative Party.
These things are felt in Pakistan where British politics are followed closely.  More than one Federal Minister here has commented to me that the increased number of British Pakistanis in Parliament and Government is a sign of the growing integration of the British Pakistani community.  And I think that they are right.  There is still a way to go.  But with the many role models from the community who are now in British public life, there is plenty of encouragement for even more young British Pakistanis with a high ambition to go out and achieve great things for Britain and to inspire their community.