Special Correspondent

LONDON: Swraj Paul, Labour peer and leading British-Indian industrialist, has urged Britain's Asian community to play a bigger role in the country's political life so that ethnic minorities are more fairly represented in Parliament.

Speaking at the Women's India Association (WIA) of the U.K, Lord Paul said: “The political parties are very keen to involve people from the ethnic communities; so this is an opportunity for you all to play an even bigger role in society.”

He said the indecisive verdict in last week's general election showed that people wanted change and the Asian community could help bring about that change.

“This is the time for the Asian community to play a bigger role and see that we get a reasonable representation. All of us have contributed to this country and I am very proud of the community. This is not a platform for me to tell you which party you should vote for. I will only say do please exercise your franchise with great pride.”

Lord Paul said he was proud of the Asian community's contribution to British society and described it as a “model” for other ethnic groups.

“All of you here tonight are models for our community and you appreciate the value of supporting community agendas. I am very proud of the contribution of our community to British life, in spite of plenty of obstacles,” he said commending the work of the Association. “The WIA has a broad membership. Many of you are wives and mothers, and while you yourselves may sometimes undervalue these twin roles we all know that they are tremendously important. Being a wife and mother is a true vocation because it is you who nurture and ensure the survival of the family unit. Family and philanthropy are two responsibilities that I believe in very strongly,” he said.

His wife, Aruna, a patron of the Association, was present.

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