Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak: the UK’s leaders of Indian-African origin 🇮🇳🇺🇬🇬🇧

While the world focuses on Kamala Harris of Jamaican-Indian heritage, the UK has been under the capable leadership of a team of Indian-origin leaders. They two most prominent members of cabinet, Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak, have another thing in common: their families came to the UK via East Africa.

In 2019 Boris Johnson was under pressure as the Brexit debacle raged on, with his opponents attempting every trick to overturn the will of the majority. He called for and won the election with a final clear mandate, and brought on board players who would deliver what had been set out.

Priti Patel

Priti Patel
He appointed Indian-origin Priti Patel, who was the key face of the ‘Vote Leave Campaign’, as the home secretary. “I am deeply honoured to be appointed as Home Secretary by our new Prime Minister @borisjohnson. Looking forward to working @ukhomeoffice to prepare our Country for leaving the EU, leading on matters of national security & public safety & keeping our borders secure,” tweeted Patel.

Patel is a controversial figure who has advocated bringing back of the death penalty and had previously asked foreign aid target to be scrapped. She was born on 29 March 1972 to Sushil and Anjana Patel in London. Her paternal grandparents were born in Gujarat, India, before emigrating to Uganda and running a convenience store in Kampala. Under pressure from the Amin government they emigrated to the UK and established a chain of newsagents in London and the South East of England. She is a practicing Gujurati Hindu.

The former Conservative leader and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher became her political heroine: according to Patel, she “had a unique ability to understand what made people tick, households tick and businesses tick. Managing the economy, balancing the books and making decisions—not purchasing things the country couldn’t afford”.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak
He replaced Chancellor Sajid Javid as the Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) of the United Kingdom. He is the son in law of Infosys co-founder Ramarao Narayana Murthy and did a stint at Goldman Sachs, but we won’t hold this against him,

Sunak was born on 12 May 1980 in England to Yashvir and Usha Sunak. He is the eldest of three siblings. His father Yashvir was born in Kenya and his mother Usha was born in Tanzania. His grandparents were born in Punjab and emigrated from East Africa with their children to the UK in the 1960s. Yashvir was a general practitioner (GP), and Usha was a pharmacist who ran a local pharmacy.

Alok Sharma

Meanwhile, Alok Sharma, 51, the former secretary of state for international development has been elevated to the role of the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy and COP26. He was born in Agra, India but moved to the UK at the age of 5.

All 3 Indian-origin members of Johnson’s cabinet took their oath on the Bhagavad-Gita


All these politicians have experienced hinduphobic attacks since coming into office. The most notorious being that of Patel caricatured as a cow. This raised many questions of how racism and hinduphobia are weapons used by UK parties on the Left when targeting their adversaries. She was also accused of “bullying” and “smirking”, again a confusing double standard.

Read: World Leaders Congratulate Joe Biden, Kamala Harris for US Presidential Win

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.