Yesterday I participated in a debate which celebrated the successes of the British Sikh community. I used my opportunity to speak to stress that it was very important that we see more Sikhs represented in local councils and in Parliament.
Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central; Conservative):
I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on raising this important issue. He has rightly identified the positive contribution that Sikhs have made to our economy and our armed forces. I want to turn his attention to the issue of political service. In our hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South West (Paul Uppal), we have a Sikh Member of this House, and my seat on Croydon council, which I vacated to become an MP, was taken by Jeet Bains, the first Sikh councillor in Croydon. Does he agree that it would be great to see more Sikhs represented on our local councils and here in this House, taking a wider role in public service?
Gareth Johnson (Dartford, Conservative):
Yes it would, and what is remarkable is the disproportionate way that Sikhs have generally contributed to public life and punched above their weight in many ways. They have had an impact in this place, with my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South West and the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall. Many members of the Sikh community have made a significant contribution to the British way of life through politics and other means. I pay tribute to Jeet Bains for being that first councillor, as my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon Central (Gavin Barwell) mentioned, and for the significant contribution that he is able to make.
To read the whole debate visit the Parliament website.