Tag Archive: Downing Street

Is Mrs May home? Political pathway opened for Leeds student

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HEADING DOWN TO DOWNING STREET: Afsana Goffar travelled to 10 Downing Street and toured the inside of the historic building as part of the Social Mobility Foundation

HEADING DOWN TO DOWNING STREET: Afsana Goffar travelled to 10 Downing Street and toured the inside of the historic building as part of the Social Mobility Foundation

In what has been an unprecedented week in British politics, a local Leeds student found herself at the heart of the action after being handpicked to visit 10 Downing Street.

Seventeen-year-old Afsana Goffar was taken on an exclusive Tour of the Prime Minister’s office on Friday 8th July, where she had unprecedented access to where Britain’s biggest political decisions are being hashed out.

The Notre Dame Sixth Form College student was selected due to her involvement with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF), a charity that supports high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds to realise their ambitions.  

She joined 30 other sixth-formers from around the UK who travelled to the capital for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Speaking about the experience, Afsana said: “The trip was eye opening, especially for someone like me, who did not know a great deal about politics.

“We discussed the history of the building itself, the important decisions that occur there and current affairs.”

She added: “We went there following the referendum result and because of this, there were many points to debate and discuss. This was the most interesting part, as we as young people believe Brexit is likely to have a big impact on us.”

With 33 per cent of MPs having attended private school - compared to seven per cent of the population – the SMF aim to show students the barriers they are likely to face in reaching elite professions.

Afsana, who is currently on a residential at the University of York, admits she is still unsure as to what career path she will take.

“Other than following recent news and relevant current affairs, I was not very political. However, after attending a visit to 10 Downing Street, my interest is growing,” she said.

“Right now, I'm considering studying engineering or chemistry at university, but career wise I haven't made a firm decision.”

David Johnston, Chief Executive of the SMF, said the trip was a reward for young people who had excelled within the foundation this year.

“The young people selected for this visit were those that have been very engaged with the programme so far – building good relationships with their mentors, attending events around the country and making the most out of the opportunities we are able to provide,” he said.

“This trip proved a great reward for them having worked so hard this academic year.”

The SMF opened a north west office in 2014 to help young people throughout Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester realise their potential.

The charity targets 11 different career strands where young people from less privileged backgrounds are under-represented.

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Cameron bows out of Downing Street: Looking back at memories of a six year tenure

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FAMILY TIME: In his speech, Cameron paid special tribute to his wife, Samantha

FAMILY TIME: In his speech, Cameron paid special tribute to his wife, Samantha

Six years, two months and three days after taking office, David Cameron stood outside the steps of 10 Downing Street and spoke for a final time as the UK’s Prime Minister.

Addressing the nation, he talked about his pride of leading the country.

As with all things political, it has not been an easy ride, and Cameron acknowledged that there were decisions that he may have got wrong in the past.

However, touching upon his most notable achievements whilst in office, he conferred that he believes the country ‘is in a much stronger position’ today than when he took up the country’s top job.

“It has not been an easy journey, and of course we have not got every decision right, but I do believe that today our country is much stronger,” he said.

“Above all, it was about turning around the economy. And with the deficit cut by two-thirds, two and a half million more people in work and one million more businesses, there can be no doubt that our economy is immeasurably stronger.

“Politicians like to talk about policies, but in the end it is about people’s lives.

“I think of the people doing jobs who were previously unemployed. I think of the businesses that were just ideas in someone’s head and that today are making a go of it and providing people with livelihoods.

“I think of the hard-working families paying lower taxes and getting higher wages because of the first ever National Living Wage.

“I think of the children who were languishing in the care system and who have now been adopted by loving families.

“I think of the parents now able to send their children to good and outstanding schools, including free schools that simply didn’t exist before.

“I think of over 200,000 young people who have taken part in National Citizen Service, the fastest growing youth programme of its kind in the world, something that, again, wasn’t there 6 years ago.

“I think of the couples who have been able to get married, who weren’t allowed to in the past.

“And I think of the people on the other side of the world who would not have clean drinking water, the chance to go to school, or even be alive, were it not for our decision to keep our aid promises to the poorest people and the poorest countries in our world.”

FAREWELL SPEECH: David Cameron gave his final address outside 10 Downing Street before officially standing down as Prime Minister

FAREWELL SPEECH: David Cameron gave his final address outside 10 Downing Street before officially standing down as Prime Minister

Cameron also paid homage to the NHS, describing it as a ‘national treasure’, despite allegations of the Conservative party’s ‘privatisation attempts’.

On welcoming in his replacement, the Witney MP said the county was in good hands.

“I am delighted that for the second time in British history the new Prime Minister will be a woman, and once again, a Conservative,” he said.

“I believe Theresa will provide strong and stable leadership in fulfilling the Conservative Manifesto on which we were elected, and I wish her well in negotiating the best possible terms for Britain’s exit from the European Union.”

LOCAL VISIT: David Cameron visited the Asian Express Newspaper offices last year

LOCAL VISIT: David Cameron visited the Asian Express Newspaper offices last year

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Gandhi takes his place in Parliament Square

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UNVEILED: The statue’s official launch date was Saturday 14th March with Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in attendance

UNVEILED: The statue’s official launch date was Saturday 14th March with Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in attendance

Iconic statue revealed to mark centenary year

One of the greatest humanitarian and political leaders in modern history was eternalised in London last weekend as a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was officially unveiled.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, drew back the covers from the giant bronze statue in Parliament Square to commemorate 100 years since Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa.

SPEECH: David Cameron speaks at the unveiling of the statue in Parliament Square

SPEECH: David Cameron speaks at the unveiling of the statue in Parliament Square

The ceremony, on Saturday 14th March, featured personal reflections from Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, and former Governor of West Bengal, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Amitabh Bachchan, one of India’s most prominent actors, also read words written by the renowned Indian leader, in front of members of the public and Lord and Lady Desai of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust - the charity that raised over £1million to fund the statue.

Mr Cameron quoted Gandhi in his speech on the day and welcomed the official opening of the capital’s latest landmark.

“This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics and by putting Mahatma Gandhi in this famous Square we are giving him an eternal home in our country,” he said.

Britain India Gandi Statue“Many of his teachings remain as potent today as when he first made them. ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’ and ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’ remain timeless, profound and inspiring words of wisdom.

“This statue celebrates the incredibly special friendship between the world's oldest democracy and its largest, as well as the universal power of Gandhi’s message.

“Our ties with India have remained close throughout history and continue to go from strength to strength – through mutual respect as equals, cooperation and trade, and of course through the one-and-a-half million Indians who do so much to make Britain the country it is today, bringing our two countries closer, to the benefit of both.”

The statue was created by renowned British sculptor Philip Jackson, who is known for his work on similar projects for the Queen Mother and the Bomber Command memorials.

Mr Jackson was inspired by a 1931 photo of Gandhi at No10 Downing Street where he met the Prime Minister of the day, Ramsey McDonald.

Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, said of the unveiling: “The statue will help ensure that the legacy of Gandhi lives on for future generations.

“It also marks an important, historic moment celebrating the strong bond between our two nations. India and the UK share the same values and we are a partnership of equals. This lasting friendship is just one of many legacies left by Gandhi, which I am keen that we work hard to strengthen further.”

PRAISE: Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, said the statues will act as a ‘reminder of Gandhi’s ideals and Britain’s historic relationship with India’

PRAISE: Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, said the statues will act as a ‘reminder of Gandhi’s ideals and Britain’s historic relationship with India’

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, added: “This statue will stand as a reminder of Gandhi’s ideals and Britain’s historic relationship with India and its people. Our nations’ friendship as equals, which brings growth and prosperity to both our countries, owes much to Gandhi’s determination to achieve independence though peace.”

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Prime Minister visits Asian Express offices

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David Cameron pays a visit to Britain’s largest free Asian newspaper and joins ABDN conference with Yorkshire’s business leaders

WARM WELCOME: Eight-year-old Shyla Hanif greets the Prime Minister at the Asian Express offices with a bouquet of flowers. Asian Express Managing Director Nadim Hanif and Managing Editor Andleeb Hanif.

WARM WELCOME: Eight-year-old Shyla Hanif greets the Prime Minister at the Asian Express offices with a bouquet of flowers

Prime Minister David Cameron traded 10 Downing Street for 4 Armley Court earlier this week as he paid a visit to the UK’s largest free pick-up Asian publication.

The Prime Minister graced the offices of Asian Express Newspaper on Thursday 5th February, as part of his visit to Yorkshire where he further pledged his commitment to end the ‘decades old divide between the North and South’.

AN HONOUR: Team Asian Express delighted to have the Prime Minister David Cameron at their offices in Leeds. Asian Express Managing Director Nadim Hanif and Managing Editor Andleeb Hanif

AN HONOUR: Team Asian Express delighted to have the Prime Minister David Cameron at their offices in Leeds

Mr Cameron seemed very relaxed as he met with the dedicated team of Asian Express, who welcomed his arrival at the Leeds-based offices.

A few jokes were cracked about how tall the PM actually was, where Mr Cameron laughingly stated that TV cameras make everyone seem short and stout

Being led on a tour of the Asian Express Newspaper office’s by co-founders, Managing Director Nadim Hanif, and Editor-in-Chief, Andleeb Hanif, Mr Cameron viewed some of the recent front page headlines and commended the newspaper for its work on not just a local but national level.

TOUR: Founders of Asian Express Nadim and Andleeb Hanif show the Prime Minister around the building and discuss the paper

TOUR: Founders of Asian Express Nadim and Andleeb Hanif show the Prime Minister around the building and discuss the paper

The Prime Minister had also facilitated a conference with the Asian Business Development Network (ABDN) in Leeds, which has recently been acquired by Nadim Hanif. A number of Yorkshire’s most influential Asian business leaders attended the meeting, chaired by Mr Gurdev Dahele.

Mr Cameron spoke to them about the launch of the Yorkshire phase of the government’s economic ‘Northern Powerhouse’ scheme, and reiterated the importance of Asian businesses and the role they play in Britain’s recovering economy.

CONFERENCE: Mr Cameron discusses the importance of Asian business with ABDN board members and guests . Asian Express Managing Director Nadim Hanif and Managing Editor Andleeb Hanif.

CONFERENCE: Mr Cameron discusses the importance of Asian business with ABDN board members and guests

Matters of concern to small and medium sized ethnic businesses were discussed, as well as the absence, or very little representation, of Asians in LEPs, and subsequent opportunities for professionals to hold higher executive roles on a local government level.

He recognised the entrepreneurial nature of the Asian community and said that he was keen to work with organisations such as ABDN, who would play a key role in building a Northern Powerhouse with a world-class infrastructure, backing businesses and supporting industries of the future.

EXCLUSIVE: Mr Cameron has a one-to-one discussion with Managing Editor Andleeb Hanif and MD Nadim Hanif

EXCLUSIVE: Mr Cameron has a one-to-one discussion with Managing Editor Andleeb Hanif and MD Nadim Hanif

The Prime Minister highlighted his commitment of a long-term economic plan for Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, which would create more jobs and financial security for hardworking people across the region.

Yorkshire business people, Asian Express Managing Director Nadim Hanif, Managing Editor Andleeb Hanif Asian Express Newspaper staff and Prime Minister David Cameron

Yorkshire business people, Asian Express Newspaper staff and Prime Minister David Cameron

Click HERE to see more videos of the event.

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Call for action

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As news reports the suspected murder, torture and mutilation of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian regime, British Muslim students, Islamic Relief and community representatives have delivered a UK-wide call for action signed by thousands to 10 Downing Street on Tuesday 21st January.

This was followed by an address from Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, in which she set out a £2m grant for Islamic Relief’s work supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan with education, shelter and cash assistance.

“I think we could be seeing the start of a significant change in the way ordinary Muslims are engaging and campaigning with the government,” said Islamic Relief’s UK Director Jehangir Malik.

“Mosques, students and community members increasingly want to do more than just give money when they see suffering or injustice. They are now demanding political solutions and taking peaceful direct action.

“Islamic Relief’s Stand up for Syria petition reflects the compassion and passion of our supporters, and sends a strong message to the Prime Minister on the eve of the Geneva peace talks.”

Islamic Relief hand in petition at No.10 to strengthen action for Syria

Islamic Relief hand in petition at No.10 to strengthen action for Syria

Liverpool psychology student Raisah Chowdhury added: “My local community has worked hard to collect signatures for the petition. Doing this has made me feel that we are at last doing something proactive to help and that our concerns will be heard.”

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “The UK has been a leading voice on the Syria conflict.

We have pledged £600 million, our largest ever response to a crisis, and have been clear that others must step up with the funding and the political will required to get aid through. I welcome the chance to hear from Islamic Relief’s supporters and to look at how we can work together to reach even more people in need.”

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