Baroness Warsi joined the Prime Minister, Lord Feldman and Lord Dolar Popat to celebrate the Launch of the Conservative Friends of India.
Conservative Friends of India (CF India) is a new member-led organisation that will help to develop links and a meaningful relationship between the Conservative Party, the British Indian community and India. Our aim is to champion the culture, successes and values of British Indians and strongly advocate closer relations between India and Britain.
Today, Sayeeda made a visit to Crawley to support the work of Conservatives in the area ahead of the local elections.
Joined by Crawley Chairman Liam Marshall-Ascough, Sayeeda met with community members and businesspeople at Broadfield Barton.
She was welcomed by Conservative candidate for Broadfield South Cllr Lee Gilroy before taking questions from the group and meeting with local media.
This evening, Baroness Warsi joined the Question Time debate from Leeds, joined by Yvette Cooper MP, Tim Farron MP, George Galloway MP and journalist David Aaronovitch. Catch up with the show here.
Britain’s first Muslim Cabinet minister tells her Tory colleagues to wake up to what’s happening in the country. Oliver Wright meets Sayeeda Warsi
Published in The Independent on Monday 16th April 2012 by Oliver Wright
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is standing, surrounded by large sacks of African chillies, having an animated conversation with a former nuclear submarine engineer about his new range of hot sauces. Since we met five hours ago, we’ve already launched the Tories’ Welsh local government election campaign in Newport; visited the first “wireless” town centre in Monmouth; and toured a women’s refuge in Cardiff.
But for the moment, as we sample the Hot Diggidy Dog sauces (“You just can’t take the spice,” Warsi jokes), Simon Llewellyn, the firm’s boss, wants to bend her ear about bank lending. “You can only get a loan now if you’re already successful enough not to need it,” he laments. She listens, suggests a new government scheme which might help him, and when he still seems downbeat promises to personally deliver a letter of complaint to the Treasury. Then we’re off again.
Ahead is a party fundraising evening (with a “luxury” pub finger buffet) in the Vale of Glamorgan and a three-hour drive to the Salford Premier Inn for the night. And that’s day one. Tomorrow we’ll tour the new Blue Peter studio, watch five former Lib Dem councillors in Rochdale defect to the Tories and visit a steam railway in the Rossendale Valley before Warsi heads off to Preston for more visits and then a fundraiser in Penrith.
As co-chairman of the Conservative Party, Warsi, 41, does these 48-hour visits around the country every week for nine months of the year. It is a gruelling schedule, but there has been little sympathy for her among some of her Tory colleagues in Westminster. Some have sounded less than impressed with their chairman. Anonymous briefers in Westminster variously paint her as a “lightweight” not up to the job; “over-promoted” because of her race and gender; never elected to office; “not to be trusted” for big media performances; and about to be sacked in a reshuffle. So are they right?
On Friday, Sayeeda visited the North West for a full day of visits and meetings ahead of the local elections.
Kicking off in Salford, Sayeeda dropped in at The Greenhouse facility at MediaCityUK, a hub for creative talent. She then took a tour of MediaCityUK including BBC studios with Conservative mayoral candidate Karen Garrido.
After leaving Salford Sayeeda caught up with Cllr John Walsh, Leader of Conservative Group in Bolton, for a street stall with supporters and councillors to campaign on town centre regeneration.
She then travelled to Rochdale for a community meeting and to meet Conservative councillors recently defected from the Lib Dems, opening a new office in the area and meeting with local press.
Sayeeda joinied Conservatives for campaigning in Rawtenstall before moving on to the Intact community centre in Ingol, Preston where she was treated to scones and singing!
After a stop at Fulwood Conservative Club to talk with Conservative members in a Meet the Chairman event, Sayeeda met with candidates and activists for the City of Preston elections and discussed the campaign with Group Leader Cllr Ken Hudson and Damien Moore, Preston Chair.
The day finished with a dinner in Pendle for MP Andrew Stephenson.
Sayeeda this week visited Wales to support Conservatives there ahead of the local elections. Beginning the day in Newport, Sayeeda joined Andrew Davies AM, Cheryl Gillan MP & Cllr Bob Greenland (WCCA Chairman) at the Newport Dragons stadium for the launch of the Welsh local election manifesto.
She then travelled to Monmouth Shire Hall for a demonstration of the Monmouthpedia Project – a collaborative initiative with Wikipedia developing ground breaking local tourism. She was met by Council Leader Cllr Peter Fox, David Davies MP, Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Enterprise Cllr Bob Greenland and Conservative candidates.
Sayeeda next stopped at Welsh Women’s Aid, a centre for women in Cardiff. Met by Children & Young Persons Manager Rebecca Burns, Sayeeda made a tour of the facility and discussed the important work of the centre.
After a drop in with the local media Sayeeda moved on to Barry, where Hot Diggidy Dog owner Simon Llewellyn greeted her with a range of extra hot sauces to try. The business has grown from its site on a council-run enterprise park and has great plans for its new products.
Sayeeda rounded off the day with a Fundraiser for South Wales Central at Fynon Wen, Cardiff before journeying north for her next day of visits.
Continuing her tour this week, Sayeeda spent the morning campaigning with Redditch Conservatives in Matchborough, Church Hill and Winyates wards.
The Chairman launches the Birmingham local election campaign with Conservatives at the Council House
After a quick cuppa and time with the local press, Sayeeda travelled to central Birmingham where she was welcomed by the Birmingham Patrons’ Club and answered members’ questions at the club’s lunch event.
Joined by Conservative candidates, Sayeeda then hosted the Birmingham Campaign Launch at the city’s Council House.
The Chairman also visited the Wyrley Birch Estate in Kingstanding ward with local candidate Gary Sambrook for litter picking in the area.
The Chairman ended the day with a fundraising event hosted by Nicky Morgan MP in Barrow upon Soar.
Leaving London early on Wednesday morning, Sayeeda was back on the road for two days of campaign tours beginning with Oxford, Gloucester and Cheltenham.
Sayeeda campaigns with Nicola Blackwood MP in Summertown
Arriving in Oxford and met by Nicola Blackwood MP, she was just in time for the 23 Pioneer Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps homecoming parade.
Nicola and Sayeeda visited the Oxford Student Hub for a tour the hub’s facilities and to meet with staff there before campaigning in Summertown at a street stall set up by local Conservatives.
Bidding farewell to Oxford, Sayeeda moved on to Gloucester for a visit with the Gloucester Citizen ahead of the paper’s Apprenticeship Awards. The Chairman then held a community meeting in Barton with Cllr Sajid Patel and Conservative candidate Nasreen Akhtar to discuss local issues.
The Chairman visits Podsmead Dreamscheme, Gloucester
After some telephone canvassing with councillors for upcoming by-elections at the Gloucester Conservatives office, Sayeeda visited the Podsmead “Dreamscheme” – an initiative which has recently been awarded Big Local funding. The Chairman was welcomed by staff and young people – and was pleased to judge an anti-litter poster campaign.
Sayeeda completed the day in Cheltenham at a packed-out Meet the Chairman event.
Baroness Warsi attended the Channel S Awards where she spoke and presented the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The awards ceremony brought together achievers from every generation of Bangladeshi’s in Britain to celebrate their successes and legacies. One of the most influential awards schemes for promoting the British-Bangladeshi community in the UK, it recognises the hidden talents within the community and rewards them. Channel S has taken this step every year since 2007 and has proven successful every year and in 2012 planned to recognise and reward the hard-work individuals do in the community.
As Tory Chairman I spend a lot of my time taking on unions – namely the ones that fund Labour’s campaigns.
But today I want to come out and defend a Union.
One which has benefitted us all for centuries.
One which is key to our success as a nation.
And one which we must work flat-out to keep intact:
The Union between Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
That is why I wholeheartedly support the launch of the Conservative Friends of the Union group.
Which couldn’t have a better champion than the dynamic, enthusiastic, vibrant and hugely patriotic Ruth Davidson.
Now we’ve all heard – and will continue to hear – the reasons why we should preserve our Union.