Boris promoted on ability, and delivered genuine diversity as a result



Positivity. Energy. Optimism. Dare I even say, humour. Words which haven’t featured in British politics much – if at all – in the last three years. But! In the past 24 hours, all four have washed through the Tory Party as we look forward to a new era under the Premiership of Boris Johnson. 

Of course, it was clear who would win the leadership election as soon as the contest began. What we didn’t know was precisely whom Boris would appoint to his government.

The new Prime Minster didn’t let us down.

As the names were announced – Sajid Javid… Priti Patel… Dominic Raab… – my smile simply grew broader and broader. Boris has put together a diverse cabinet including representatives from all wings of the Party, even finding room for more problematic voices such as Amber Rudd. 

Meanwhile, the commentariat – obsessed it seems with the colour of everybody’s skin – droned on about diversity. I realise Identity Politics is all the rage now but the reaction – particularly from the left – has been little short of absurd.

Until Boris ascended to Number 10, there have only ever been three members of cabinet whose ancestral origins would qualify them as “BAME”. Now we have six, or 27% of the cabinet. A number far in excess of the national average and the most ethnically diverse Cabinet in history, probably anywhere in the world. Is this to be celebrated? Definitely. We have come a long way. It’s a great thing.

But this is about equality. Not tokenism.

For most Conservatives, the ethnic background, gender, or sexual orientation of a minister – or indeed anyone – is of little consequence. What is absolutely key is that we have the best people for the job. We can be confident that Boris has selected those he believes are best placed to get us through the next few months. He did not select his cabinet based on ethnic background which makes the appointments of Priti Patel and Sajid Javid even more exciting. This is meritocracy in action.

Our country has a lot to be proud of. We are the most ethnically integrated country in the world and our cabinet is a reflection of this. Let the left-wing moaners moan. I am as proud of Priti and Sajid as I am of anybody in the cabinet. In our party, ability is the only thing that matters, and our new Chancellor and Home Secretary are as able as they come. What a great day for Britain.

Suraj Sharma is the MD for Respublica and Conservative Councillor for Chislehurst. Follow him on twitter: @Suraj_Sharma