First Muslims in British government

New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has brought in two Muslim MPs as junior members of government for the first time.

First Muslims in British government
Shahid Malik was promoted to become a parliamentary under- secretary in an expanded Department for International Development, while Sadiq Khan was appointed as an Assistant Government Whip responsible for MPs abiding by official policies.

Both were named by Brown as he completed his ministerial line-up by also selecting some members from outside the ruling Labour Party, including business leaders, a former navy chief, a medical professor and former UN deputy secretary general Sir Mark Malloch Brown.

Malik, aged 39, and Khan, 36, are from a new intake of MPs, elected for the first time at the last general election in 2005, when Muslim members of the House of Commons doubled to four.

It comes after Mohammed Sarwar, the first Muslim MP elected in 1997 but who did not reach government ranks, announced last week that he would be stepping down from his constituency in Glasgow at the next election, due by 2010.

Malik, who represents Dewsbury, in northern England, gained experience on the first rung of the government ladder acting as private parliamentary secretary to Schools Minister Jim Knight over the past year.

His other parliamentary posts have included being vice-chair of All-Party Kashmir Group and chair of the All-Party British Victims of Terror Group. Previously he was the only Muslim member of Labour's policy making, National Executive Council.

Khan, who is also a human rights lawyer, is Labour MP for Tooting in south London. Earlier this year, he acted as private parliamentary secretary to Jack Straw, when he was leader of the House of Commons.

Both the British-born Muslim MPs made notable starts to their careers, with Khan winning the award of parliamentary 'Newcomer of the Year' by the Spectator magazine in 2005 and Malik being awarded for making 'Best Maiden Speech' by parliament's House magazine.

The other Muslim MP, Khalid Mahmood, who represents a Birmingham constituency in the English midlands, have served as private parliamentary secretaries to two ministers since entering the House of Commons in 2001, but has yet to be promoted to a government post.

When taking office , Brown pledged to make changes and build "a new government with new priorities." He later announced a new cabinet, with only Defence Secretary Des Browne retaining his post from Prime Minister Tony Blair's previous government.

Last Mod: 04 Temmuz 2007, 18:41
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