Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the first ever turbanned Sikh to the British parliament has said through his election “a glass ceiling has truly been broken.”
Mr Dhesi is the new Labour MP for Slough. In his maiden speech in the House of Commons, Mr Singh Dhesi praised Slough for being the first town to elect the UK’s first ever black lady mayor three decades ago. He also praised the town for electing the first ever turbanned Sikh in the British Parliament.
Mr Dhesi said he believed he was the first ever turbanned Sikh elected to any European Parliament.
“A glass ceiling has truly been broken and I sincerely hope that many more like me will follow in the years and decades to come,” he said. “Mr Speaker, the enormity of what has been collectively achieved has not escaped me. The hand of history, the huge excitement, anticipation and sheer expectations weigh heavily on my shoulders.”
Following his election Mr Dhesi received thousands of goodwill messages from around the globe. He was however deeply touched by the message from one individual who said: “I feel really happy because finally there is someone that looks like me sitting in Parliament.”
He revealed that he was most overwhelmed during a recent trip up north when an elderly gentleman walked up to him with tears streaming down his eyes and said: “I’m proud son because I didn’t think I would see this in my lifetime.”
Mr Dhesi said: “It is a sense of belonging when you get bullied at school for looking different, when you stand out from the crowd, it is a case of being respected and embraced by your fellow countrymen and women. Within the highest echelons of establishment. And what could demonstrate greater embrace than being elected to serve and sit on these green benches, in this august House, in the mother of all parliaments.”
He recalled that while serving as mayor in 2011, integration was his mayoral theme. “The message that I consistently took out to our community, to our schools, the various faith groups in the wider community was that we should all be proud of our distinct identity whatever that may be, but we should also be proud of our shared heritage. For those of us, who are born and brought up in Britain, are British nationals, we should also be proud to be British.”