House of Lords welcomes second turbaned Sikh

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Ranbir Singh Suri, a successful business man has become the second ever turbaned Sikh to be elevated to the house of lords.

Ranbir Singh Suri, having been created Baron Suri of Ealing, was introduced to the Upper House on October 13 2014, supported by Lord Popat and Lord Leigh of Hurley.

The leading UK businessman and philanthropist delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords on January 15 as part of the debate on Mental-Healthcare provision.

Lord Suri who has lived in Ealing for 36 years has been a resident of Hanger Lane for the last 36 years. During that time he has been a magistrate (Justice of the Peace) at Ealing and Acton Magistrates Courts, (1991-2005), a probation liaison committee member at Ealing Magistrates Court (1991-1993), executive committee member with Hanger Lane Residents Association, (1988-Present), Hanger Lane (Ealing) ward committee member (1979 – Present), area co-ordinator neighbourhood watch scheme for Ealing, (1981-1982) and executive committee member for the Ealing branch of the British Heart Foundation from (1991-2012).

“I feel humbled and honoured on being elevated to the House of Lords. With my vast experience in voluntary, public services and business, the Peerage will  give me a good opportunity for serving the country through this exciting role.

The Sikh Federation UK said in a statement: “He is no leading figure in Britain’s Sikh community and he is not associated with any of the leading Sikh organisations. Many in the Sikh community simply see Lord Suri as a businessman who has donated large sums of money [to the Tories].”

It added: “The Federation has been campaigning for over a decade to see more visible Sikhs in Parliament. On the one hand this move is welcome, but we would prefer each of the main political parties to have Sikhs in the House of Lords who are younger, there on merit and based on what they have to offer rather than those who are seen as ‘cronies’.”

The Sikh Council UK, the largest Sikh representative body in the country, said it had never worked with Lord Suri. “We have not come across this individual before,” said Gurmel Singh, the Council’s secretary general. “The first time I heard of him was when his name was mentioned [as a new peer].

“While we welcome the appointment of a Sikh to the House of Lords, the general feeling in the community is that it would have been good to have somebody who could speak on a range of issues. It would also have been good if he was known for his contributions in the Sikh community.”

Kulwant Singh Dhesi, president of the British Sikh Council, said he had never heard of Lord Suri. “I’ve never met this person. I can’t even recognise his face,” he said.

We congratulate Lord Ranbir Singh Suri. We wish him well and hope that he will be an active Lord. He now has the right to speak and vote in the House of Lords and he should not hesitate to raise genuine issues and concerns on behalf of fellow Sikhs also. We need more visible identity Sikhs in both House of the

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