Sajid Javid Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid: How I became a Conservative

Although I joined the Conservative Party during my time at Exeter University, it was my upbringing and early life that shaped my political consciousness.

Abdul-Ghani Javid (or, as he was known to me, Dad) arrived in the UK in 1961 at 23 years of age. His family lost everything during the partition of India and their move to Pakistan, so my father’s motivation was quite simple – he wanted to work in Britain and provide the means for his brothers back in Pakistan to be educated.

Disembarking at Heathrow with a £1 note in his pocket (which his father, touchingly but mistakenly, had said would see him through his first month in the UK), my father made his way up north and found a job in a Rochdale cotton mill.

Happy to be employed, he nevertheless strived for more. He set his sights on working on a bus, only to be turned away time and again.

But he didn’t give up. He persisted and was hired as a bus conductor, then a driver, earning the nickname ‘Mr Night & Day’ from his co-workers. After that came his own market stall, selling ladies clothes (many sewn by my mother at home) and, eventually, his own shop in Bristol.

My four brothers and I, all born in Rochdale, lived with my parents in the two-bedroom flat above our shop on Stapleton Road (which, although home to us, was later dubbed “Britain’s most dangerous street”).

This – along with our family breaks to visit cousins back in Rochdale and our biannual treat of hiring a VHS player for a weekend to binge on movies – might not fit everyone’s definition of success, but success is always relative. My parents achieved their aims – to help their immediate and extended families and to provide for and educate my brothers and me.

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