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The challenges facing ethnic minority elected politicians

I appeared on a 26-minute TV programme debating the extent to which Sajid Javid and Sadiq Khan should be seen as representing the minority communities that they came from.

Transmitted 2 September 2018. Posted 4 November 2018

TRT World is an international television channel which is part of Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, which is the national public broadcaster of Turkey.

On 30 August 2018, they interviewed me via Skype as part of a recorded programme about two politicians from a Muslim background, Sadiq Khan and Sajid Javid.

The 26 minute programme was transmitted on 2 September 2018 and can be watched on YouTube and also below.

Introduction to the programme

TRT gave the programme the title “Sajid Javid: Is the UK ready for a Muslim PM?” which is of course much catchier than my description of its subject matter.

Below is their introductory text:

“The British Home Secretary and the Mayor of London – both offices are pillars of the British political establishment, both their occupants are British-Pakistanis. Sajid Javid and Sadiq Khan come from humble stock but climbed to the very top of UK politics. But many of their fellow Brit-Paks are disappointed with their efforts.”

This text highlights a really important issue which emerges quite well in the debate that takes place during the programme.

When a politician belongs to an identifiable group, such as an ethnic minority or a religious minority (or indeed both when you have a Muslim of South Asian ethnicity), it is understandable that other members of that group expect the politician to represent them.

However, the duty of the politician is to represent the whole of their electorate, not simply the sub-group they came from.


The presenter Matthew Moore interviews three people:

Below I have transcribed some of the questions the interviewer asks. However, it was not practical to transcribe the responses and I recommend watching the video above.


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