Conservative Party and India

More than a century has passed since the UK Parliament welcomed its first Conservative MP of Indian origin. In 1885, Sir Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownagree became the first Conservative MP for Bethnal Green. He was re-elected in 1900.

Despite such an early foray into politics, Indian involvement in British parliamentary activities remained largely negligible until 1987. Today, however, the tide is clearly turning. The second and third generation of British Indians -- a dynamic and professional part of the country’s population -- is showing a keen interest in British politics. In 2010, three Conservative Indian-origin MPs entered Parliament for the first time. In 2015, they were joined by two more.

The two most recent elections do not only reveal the pace at which British Indians are increasingly involved in British politics. It also shows how the current generation of mostly high achieving British Indians is moving away from the political affinities and affiliations of earlier generations

The current parliament has three Conservative Peers of Indian-origin. There are also more than 70 Conservative Indian-origin councillors and five Indian-origin MPs.

  • Shailesh Vara, a solicitor by profession, has retained his North West Cambridgeshire seat since May 2005. He served as Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, speaking for the Conservative Party on Parliamentary matters from the Commons Front Bench from November 2006 and, following the 2010 General Election, he was appointed a Government Whip. He served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice from October 2013 - July 2016 and Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions from July 2015 - July 2016.
  • Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, and Priti Patel, MP for Witham, have both retained their seats since 2010. In July 2016, Priti Patel was appointed Secretary of State for International Development. Prior to this role she was the first ever Indian Diaspora champion and Minister for Employment. Alok Sharma MP was made Minister of Asia in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the July 2016 reshuffle.
  • In 2015, Suella Fernandes was elected MP for Fareham; Rishi Sunak was elected MP for Richmond (Yorkshire).