Defence Secretary Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, London's Mayor Sadiq Khan and DUP leader Rt Hon Arlene Foster were among the winners of the 13th Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards (AVPPL), hosted on Thursday 7 March by the Asian Voice newsweekly in London. It was attended by parliamentarians, business and community leaders, members of the Armed Forces and crème de la crème of the British society. Chief Guest was Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP.
India's Leela Group of Hotels and Comedian Paul Chowdhury and superstar Rajnikant star of the film 2.0 received awards in the field of art and culture.
The “People’s Awards” represent a modest effort to honour a number of outstanding individuals of any background, who serve society in their own special way, and who contribute significantly, in whatever they do, towards making a better world today and for the future.
Owing to the century-old tradition of participation in the political process in the UK, women and men equally participate in political and public life in a number of ways, from holding office as political representatives, to exercising citizenship rights such as voting, and to playing an active role in the community and voluntary organisations.
These awards are given annually to individuals who have made a special impact in the preceding 12 months, ranging from international politicians to individuals who have made a big difference in their local communities.
As in previous years, the competition for awards is extremely strong. This is a unique event where readers nominate and an independent panel of judges comprising of eminent personalities selects the winners.
Receiving the Cabinet Minister of the Year award Defence Secretary Rt Hon Gavin Williamson emphasised the importance of diversity, and said, “To all those who contribute to our national forces and our Armed forces are the strong by being represented by every single community around. You see it- whether it's in Afghanistan, Iraq or South Sudan you see our armed forces representatives from every background- all contributing, all making a difference. My constituency is so diverse and vibrant, and I want our armed forces to reflect that same vibrancy to harness the real power of every single community that makes our United Kingdom.”
Receiving Politician of the Year award, Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP said, “As the leader of the DUP, we share similar values and I look forward to strengthening relations between India and Northern Ireland in the coming days.” She's the key speaker at the India Britain Trade Expo on Tuesday 12 March 2019.
CB Patel, Publisher/Editor of Asian Voice said, “We are hosting the Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards at a time when dissent is rife, and arguably unprecedented, in our political stage and the future of the economy hangs in the balance, perhaps perilously so. While dissent in many ways is necessary for the well being of the body politic, one does long for our leaders and decision-makers to speak collectively and with one voice. There is much at stake for a nation that waits with bated breath for the storm to pass without leaving in its wake economic debris of unmanageable proportion.
“On a brighter note, thanks to several illustrious men and women of lofty stature in our political and public life, the UK has in the past ridden many a storm through unflinching resilience and astute decision making and I am confident that in the coming months and years we will see leaders of similar ilk rise to the challenge.
“In the din and tumult of the current scenario, I believe it is important for us to recognise and honour leaders in our political and public life who make a tremendous contribution to preserving this nation's enviable stature as one of the leading economies of the world.
“This year's awards recognise leaders from several political parties, businesses both small and large and professionals from various backgrounds. Their recognition was made possible due to the overwhelming support of our readers and inputs from our expert panel of judges. I am indeed grateful to them.”
This year's distinguished winners are:
Cabinet Minister of the Year: Defence Secretary Rt Hon Gavin Williamson
Politician of the Year (Male): London Mayor Sadiq Khan
Politician of the Year (Female): Rt Hon Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP
Shadow Cabinet Minister of the Year: Den Carden MP
Conservative MP of the Year: Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Scottish National Party MP of the Year: Hannah Bardell MP
Comedian/Actor of the Year: Paul Chowdhury
Labour MP of the Year: Thelma Walker MP
Journalist of the Year: John Craig
Doctor of the Year: Professor Jonathan Vallabhjee OBE, National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes, NHS England
Public Service Award: Sir Mark Sedwill KCMG, Cabinet Secretary
International Hotel of the Year: The Leela International
Airline of the Year: Middle East Airlines
Film of the Year: 2.0
Campaigner of the Year: Harjini Baheerathan
Restaurant of the Year: Hankies
Lawyer of the Year: Ajit Mishra
Healthcare Service Provider of the Year: RX Live
International Travel Agent of the Year: Nithin Kozhuppakalam, Golden Routes
Professional of the Year: Ketan Patel, Artemis Insurance