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Friday, May 14, 2010 03:55:58 PM, Agencies

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London: Sayeeda Warsi alias Baroness Warsi has been named as chairman of the Conservative Party, as party leader David Cameron (pictured) continues to choose members of his new government to lead the country for the next five years.

She replaces Eric Pickles, who becomes communities secretary.

Sayeeda Warsi, who was shadow minister for community cohesion when the Tories were in opposition, is the first Muslim woman to serve in a British cabinet.

A former solicitor, she was a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party from 2005 to 2007.

Sayeeda Warsi in her new role will be responsible for the running of overall affairs of the party and will be a bridge between the parliamentary Conservative Party and the voluntary membership. She will oversee the working and operations of the Conservative Party headquarters and will be responsible for reporting the party affairs to the prime minister and vice versa.

Warsi, who will be the face of the Conservative party from now on, called her appointment a progressive and historic decision and vowed she will dedicate herself to make the Conservative message of change a success.

Sayeeda Warsi has always had a keen interest in racial justice issues. For many years she was an executive member of the Kirklees Racial Equalities Council. She is also a member of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trustís Racial Justice Committee and regularly represents them at national conference.

She has been a speaker on issues as varied as forced marriages, prison conditions and business network links at a national level. Warsi has worked overseas on a research project on forced marriages for the Ministry of Law in Pakistan and for the womenís empowerment charity - the Savayra Foundation.


Sayeeda Warsi was born in Dewsbury in 1971. She was educated at Birkdale High School and Dewsbury College, and at the University of Leeds where she read Law (LLB).

She attended the York College of Law to complete the legal practice course and then trained with the Crown Prosecution Service and then the Home Office Immigration Department.

After qualifying as a Solicitor, Sayeeda Warsi worked for John Whitfield, the last Conservative Member of Parliament for Dewsbury and at Whitfield Hallam Goodall Solicitors. Sayeeda Warsi then went on to set up her own specialist practice, George Warsi Solicitors, in Dewsbury.


As Britain's first Muslim Cabinet minister she was already guaranteed to make an impression.

Sayeeda Warsi made a dazzling first appearance at the Cabinet table yesterday.

The new Tory party chairman - and the first female Asian frontbencher of any party - ditched the pinstriped traditions of her predecessors for traditional Asian dress

She arrived to take her seat at the Government's top-table wearing a multi-toned pink shalwar kameez.

The politician, who does not always wear traditional dress, removed her coat at the request of photographers, hanging it on a railing outside Number 10, to display her outfit.

'To be born as the daughter of an immigrant mill worker in a mill town in Yorkshire, to have the privilege of serving in Cabinet at such an important time in Britain's history, I think it is terribly humbling,' she said.

The word shalwar refers to the loose pyjama-like trousers, while the kameez is the long shirt worn on top.

Sayeeda Warsi's suit also featured a matching dupatta, or chunni, which is the long scarf she wore over the shoulders.

The whole outfit is a traditional form of dress for women in Pakistan, from where the Minster's parents hail, and also in India.

Sayeeda Warsi's bright outfit made a sharp contrast with the dark suits sported by most of the other, predominantly male, Cabinet members.




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