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Baroness Warsi is one of the strongest female personalities in British and European politics. A lawyer with a powerful advocacy record for human rights and significant foreign policy experience, she defies categories by speaking her mind loud and clear.
Her business background and her passion for the manufacturing sector in particular have made her a champion for British business both at home and abroad.
Sayeeda Warsi was the second of five daughters of an immigrant family from Pakistan that has achieved significant business success in the United Kingdom.
She was educated at Birkdale High School, Dewsbury College and the University of Leeds. She attended the College of Law (now University of Law) in York and completed her legal training with the Crown Prosecution Service and Home Office Immigration Department.
She was the first Muslim woman to be selected by the Conservatives to run for parliament. In 2007 she became the youngest member of the House of Lords, as Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury. In 2010 she was appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party and became a member of the Privy Council and the first Muslim to serve as a British Cabinet Minister (Minister without Portfolio). In 2012 she became Senior Minister of State at the Foreign Office, and Minister for Faith and Communities.
In 2014 she resigned from the government, describing the UK government’s approach towards Gaza as “morally indefensible”.
Sayeeda Warsi tackles difficult issues – above all the role of faith and religion in contemporary politics – with fearless energy and eloquence. She talks with passion about highlights and controversies in her public life:
● Travelling to Sudan in 2007 to help secure the release of British teacher Gillian Gibbons, on trial for blasphemy
● Taking on British National Party leader Nick Griffin in 2009 on the flagship BBC Question Time programme. The Observer newspaper described her performance as ‘sharp, articulate and warmly engaging’
● Standing outside No 10 Downing Street in traditional Pakistan clothes when she joined the Cabinet: pictures of her with Prime Minister David Cameron were seen around the world
● Leading the UK’s largest ever ministerial delegation to the Vatican, gaining global coverage for a speech calling on Europe to strengthen its Christian identity
● Leading the government’s campaign to criminalise forced marriage, and speaking out on the ‘grooming’ of children by gangs
● Winning the 2011 campaign against the Alternative Vote system for the referendum
● Making the winning case for the UK to be the first western country to issue a Sukuk (Islamic bond)
“Northern, working-class and Muslim, Sayeeda Warsi represents modern multicultural Britain in all its complexity, and she’s a Conservative. She is on her way to inventing a new type of politics for the looming age of authenticity” (The Daily Telegraph, January 2012)
“The best speakers position themselves just outside, not inside, the political mainstream. Therein lies the secret of Baroness Warsi’s success … the closest they have to a modern-day Margaret Thatcher” (Simon Lancaster, May 2012)
“Female, Muslim, working class, northern opinionated, empathetic, down to earth, Warsi is unusual in the Westminster bubble” (Red Magazine, Jan 2015)
Sayeeda Warsi addresses audiences large and small, including City dinners, women’s networking events and major international financial conferences. She is a popular and influential speaker who brings generous passion, warmth and insight to every event. She is active on social media (‘sometimes too much so’, say her family).
For speaking enquiries or to book Sayeeda Warsi please call Specialist Speakers on +44 (0)203 002 4125 or use our contact form