Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

Conservative life peer and Britain's first Muslim cabinet minister

Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi | NMP Live
About

Lawyer, businesswoman, campaigner and Conservative politician, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has held many roles, however she is best known for being the first Muslim to serve in a British cabinet.

Born in West Yorkshire to immigrants of Pakistani origin, Sayeeda studied law at the University of Leeds, gaining an LLB, and trained with the Crown Prosecution Service then the Home Office Immigration Department, before setting up her own specialist legal practice. She has also been a long-term racial justice campaigner and was instrumental in the launch of Operation Black Vote, a not-for-profit national organisation that works towards greater racial justice and equality throughout the UK.

Her father, a former mill-worker and bus driver who set up his own business, instilled in Sayeeda values of freedom, responsibility and aspiration. Inspired, she became involved with the Conservative Party and it was there, in 2004, that she became Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Cities and Diversity and advisor to the party leader, Michael Howard.

In 2005, she stood as a Parliamentary candidate in Dewsbury. In 2007, she was elevated to the House of Lords aged 36, making her the youngest peer in Parliament. Later that year she travelled to Sudan and famously helped to secure the release of the British teacher Gillian Gibbons who was on trial for blasphemy.

In 2010, Sayeeda Warsi was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron as Minister without Portfolio, becoming the first Muslim to serve as a Cabinet Minister.

The iconic images of her on the steps of No 10 Downing Street in a shalwar kameez (a traditional ethnic outfit) were beamed around the world. She was also appointed as Chairman of the Conservative Party – the first Asian to chair a major British political party, a position she held from 2010-2012. Also in 2012, Sayeeda was made Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities.

Outspoken and challenging on the issues that many people seek to avoid, she has become an interesting and distinct voice on topics previously considered taboo. She led the government's campaign to criminalise forced marriage and spoke out on the sexual grooming of children by gangs.

A fierce political campaigner, Sayeeda drove the campaign against adopting the Alternative Vote system ahead of the May 2011 referendum, winning what she called 'the mother of all elections' by a ratio of two to one. She also spearheaded the party's Social Action agenda both domestically and internationally, setting up Project Maja, which has brought politicians and volunteers together to deliver projects in the poorest parts of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bangladesh, and Turkey.

Sayeeda is a Trustee of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and Chair of the Baroness Warsi Foundation. The Foundation focuses on three programme areas; social mobility, gender equality and freedom of religious belief. She is also a Trustee of the Savayra Foundation, a UK registered charity which works in Pakistan to empower widows, divorcees and orphan girls through skills, education and other poverty relief programmes.

Sayeeda is passionate that education is the opportunity that makes anything possible. She is committed to widening access to Higher Education for all.

Her business background and passion for the manufacturing sector in particular have made Sayeeda a champion for British business both at home and abroad. She has been a major driver of three start-up companies; one in the service sector and two in manufacturing, all of which have developed into vibrant and successful SMEs.

In January 2015, Sayeeda Warsi was nominated for the Muslim Woman of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.

She is an International Advisor to Australia Catholic University, a Visiting Professor at St Marys – the oldest Catholic university in the UK, an Advisor to Georgetown University, Washington D.C, and Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Bolton. She has also been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Aston, Birmingham City, and Bolton universities, as well as from the University of Law.

Her 2017 book, The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain, was described by The Telegraph as “vital reading for decision-makers in Whitehall and Fleet Street. It shows that we need more of the quality that terrorists signally lack: empathy with those different from ourselves.”

Drawing on her own unique position in British life, as the child of Pakistani immigrants, an outsider who became an insider, she explores questions of cultural difference, terrorism, surveillance, social justice, religious freedom, integration and the meaning of 'British values'.

Speech Topics

Consistently voted as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is a popular, unique, charismatic and authentic public speaker with a wide reach and international appeal.

Whether she’s delivering a conference keynote speech or a more informal and anecdotal after dinner talk, Baroness Warsi speaks with passion about the highlights and controversies in her public life. She is well known for confronting difficult issues head-on, with fearless energy and eloquence; above all the role of faith and religion in contemporary politics.

She is equally comfortable addressing a large audience of international business leaders or a major congress, as much as speaking at regional SME dinners, charitable associations, WI and women’s networking events.

Books and DVDs

Clients often ask about purchasing books for giveaways and delegate packs. Below you’ll find a selection of products by Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. Click the images to view on Amazon's website. For bulk orders, please speak with your Booking Agent.

How to book Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi for your event

To book Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, please submit an online enquiry, email bookings@nmp.co.uk or speak with one of our booking agents on +44 (0)1372 361 004.

You may also be interested in...
Afua Hirsch | NMP Live
Afua Hirsch

Former barrister, award-winning journalist, diversity and identity campaigner

Sir Michael Wilshaw | NMP Live
Sir Michael Wilshaw

Former HM Chief Inspector of Schools at Ofsted

Trevor Phillips OBE | NMP Live
Trevor Phillips OBE

Former Chair of Equality and Human Rights Commission

Shappi Khorsandi | NMP Live
Shappi Khorsandi

Stand up comedian, author and cultural commentator

Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge DBE MP | NMP Live
Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge DBE MP

Labour MP and former Under-Secretary of State for Employment

Amal Clooney | NMP Live
Amal Clooney

Barrister, international law, equality and human rights lawyer

You may also be interested in...
Afua Hirsch | NMP Live
Afua Hirsch

Former barrister, award-winning journalist, diversity and identity campaigner

Sir Michael Wilshaw | NMP Live
Sir Michael Wilshaw

Former HM Chief Inspector of Schools at Ofsted

Trevor Phillips OBE | NMP Live
Trevor Phillips OBE

Former Chair of Equality and Human Rights Commission

Shappi Khorsandi | NMP Live
Shappi Khorsandi

Stand up comedian, author and cultural commentator

Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge DBE MP | NMP Live
Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge DBE MP

Labour MP and former Under-Secretary of State for Employment

Amal Clooney | NMP Live
Amal Clooney

Barrister, international law, equality and human rights lawyer

I was very pleased with the service I received from NMP Live, the agent was very helpful and professional. I will definitely look to NMP Live in the future.
Nicole Hardaker, EAIE Conference Programme Coordinator
MORE TESTIMONIALS
Bookings and enquiries
Call +44 (0)1372 361 004 or Email us

Need help and advice? | Want to join our roster?

MAKE AN ENQUIRY