British Muslim peer 'humbled' to be in Cabinet

13th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's first female Muslim Cabinet minister said Thursday it was "humbling" to join the government, after taking part in new Prime Minister David Cameron's first full ministerial meeting.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is the Conservative Party's chairwoman and minister without portfolio in Cameron's new coalition government, the first power-sharing administration in Britain since World War II.

"For anybody to serve in government is a privilege," said the 39-year-old of Pakistani origin, after Cameron held his first Cabinet meeting in 10 Downing Street, two days after being appointed premier by Queen Elizabeth II.

"But to be born 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 is terribly humbling," she told the BBC.

Warsi -- who describes herself as a "northern, working-class-roots mum" -- says she joined the Conservative Party after being inspired by her father, who went from working in a mill to run a highly successful bed-making business.

The Tories came top in elections last week but failed to win an absolute majority. Cameron took office after five days of tense negotiations with the Liberal Democrats, the third-placed party which emerged as kingmaker.

© 2010 AFP

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