By: Parveen Akhtar
The son of a Pakistani bus driver who became Britain’s home secretary
What links Sajid Javid (Britain’s first Muslim-heritage home secretary), Sadiq Khan (London’s first Muslim mayor), and Sayeeda Warsi (the first Muslim to sit in the British cabinet)? They’re all the children of post-war Pakistani immigrants who came to the UK in the 1960s in search of a better life. And all three had fathers who were bus drivers. Javid, Khan and Warsi, the bus-driver-kid crew, have driven hard and fast to achieve high political office.
Javid’s is a story of rags to riches to political power. With a “£1 note in his pocket,” his father, Abdul Ghani, settled in Rochdale, working in a cotton mill and then on the buses – and nicknamed “Mr Night and Day because he used to work every hour God sent his way.” Eventually the family moved to Bristol, and Javid, like his heroine Margaret Thatcher (he once revealed he had a poster of her on his office wall), lived in a flat above a shop. And though his school career adviser told him “Stapleton Road kids don’t go to university,” Javid went on to read economics and politics at Exeter. He was the first in his family to graduate.
At 25, Javid became the youngest vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank. His reputation for success led him to be headhunted by Deutsche Bank where, as the head of credit trading, he earned £3m.
Javid entered politics as MP for Bromsgrove (Worcestershire) in 2010 – a move which reportedly saw him take a 98% pay cut.
He enjoyed a close relationship with George Osborne and worked under the then chancellor as treasury minister in 2012. He got his first cabinet post in 2014 as the secretary of state for culture, media and sport. He has also held the office of secretary of state for business, innovation and skills and secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.
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