Baroness Thatcher was “Britain’s first Asian Prime Minister”, according to one of the Conservative party’s few Asian MPs
Tory MP Alok Sharma, who is the party’s vice-chairman for engagement with black and minority ethnic groups said he respected the late Prime Minister who died last week because “she shared our core values and beliefs”.
Writing on telegraph.co.uk/politics, Mr Sharma said: “In my immigrant family we revered Margaret Thatcher. She was aspiration personified. She understood what it took to smash the glass ceiling.
“She shared our values and she empathised with our experiences. She really was the first British Asian Prime Minister.”
Reading West MP Mr Sharma is one of 11 out of 303 Tory MPs who come from black or minority ethnic backgrounds. He said it was a fallacy to suggest that Lady Thatcher “neither understood nor did anything for immigrant communities”.
He said: “There are those on the left who maintain that Mrs. Thatcher neither understood nor did anything for immigrant communities like the one I come from.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. My Dad always maintained that although Mrs. Thatcher did not look like us, she absolutely thought like us. He referred to her as the first British Asian Prime Minister – because she shared our core values and beliefs.
“Like rewarding hard work, valuing our children’s education, helping small businesses, encouraging home ownership, never spending more than you could afford, respecting the rule of law and being pro-family.”
Mr Sharma, the party’s vice chairman for engagement with black and minority ethnic groups, recalled how he was eating dinner with his family during the strike-hit Winter of Discontent in 1979 when the lights went out.
He said: “As we ate our supper that evening, with a couple of flickering candles for light, I remember my Dad saying that we really needed a strong leader to sort out the terrible mess the country was in.
“And just a few months later Margaret Thatcher started her transformational 11-year period as Prime Minister.”
Mr Sharma continued: “If you aspired and wanted to get on in life, as so many immigrants families did, Margaret Thatcher was your champion, your role model, your heroine.
“There are many hundreds of thousands of immigrant families like mine in Britain today who have prospered because of the economic policies followed by Baroness Thatcher. And we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for making our path to success easier.
“Some on the Left also try to perpetuate the myth that Margaret Thatcher was anti-immigration and anti-immigrant. This is again a distortion of the truth. Baroness Thatcher was a meritocratic and she believed in letting the brightest and the best come into Britain.
“But she believed in sustainable levels of immigration and she wanted to see immigrant communities integrate fully into mainstream society.”