Warsi: No more unskilled immigrants
Posted by Jamie at 10 00 PM on Saturday, May 15
BRITAIN’S first Muslim Cabinet Minister stood outside Number 10 and thought: “No door is closed to anyone from any background”.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi found herself splashed across the front of all the papers when she turned up to the first Cabinet meeting in traditional Muslim dress.
“I didn’t think it would cause so much fuss!” she says.
“I woke up that morning and though ‘that looks really nice, I’ll wear that’. My younger sister made it for me.
“My mum bought every single paper. She was really, really proud. She said it was the nicest I’ve looked for a while.”
Baroness Warsi - the new Tory chairman - says her appointment should send a message to other young Muslims.
"It is the first time a British women has taken a seat in the Cabinet. It is a big moment. There has been so much discussion about the conflict between Islam and Britain. I've always said the two can sit completely comfortably together.
“It sends an important message to young British Muslims that this is home, this is your country, where you have rights and responsibilities. No door should be closed to any person from any religious or ethnic minority background.”
She said the new coalition meant both the Tories and Lib Dems would have to make compromises.
But she said David Cameron was right to stand firm on immigration.
“It was absolutely right that we kept to our red line on the cap on immigration,” she said.
“It has been a very good move from the Liberal Democrats to support that and move away from their amnesty.
“Fifty years ago Britain had a great need for workers to come and work in our mills. My father and his family and friends answered that call. They came here, made a better life for themselves and also rebuilt Britain's economy.
"Britain has to assess what her needs are. There's no need right now, when we have five million people on out-of-work benefits, to bring lots of people in from overseas to do unskilled work.”
Speaking to the News of the World as she drove herself home to Dewsbury - she doesn’t get a ministerial limo - she said she was disappointed to see just three other female faces around the Cabinet table.
“We didn't win a majority and compromises have to made at all sorts of levels, and that includes jobs.”
And what of her own job title?
“I am going to be chairman, I can't be doing with all this chairperson stuff. It is madam chairman, I'm certainly not going to try to introduce some New Labour version of what I should be called.”