Multi-millionaire MP Adam Afriyie has given The-Latest a fascinating insight into the thinking of a national Black British Conservative politician. Afriyie told the website that he would not raise “race issues” in parliament because he refused to be defined by the colour of his skin.
The self-made businessman, who last year pocketed £13m profit from the sale of a computer business to the magazine giant Emap, said he had not allowed himself to be pigeon-holed as a Black person in the past and he was not going to let that happen now. Afriyie, aged 40, the MP for Windsor and Maidenhead, said that in America Black people had rightly been involved in a violent struggle against racism during the Civil Rights era.
But the situation was different now as a result and there were leading Black Republicans (the equivalent to Conservatives) including the current US Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice and her predecessor Colin Powell. Wimbledon-born Afriyie’s defiance in the face of demands that he should stand up for Black people has brought a reprimand by national newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai Brown.
She wrote: “The (May 2005 general) election ushers in the first "black" Tory MP, Adam Afriyie (half Ghanaian and half English) and Shailash Vara (MP for North West Cambridgeshire), the Ugandan Asian who has done time as deputy chairman for a party which has always repudiated equality and diversity policies and produced a string of racist politicians, including Winston Churchill.
“So is this the nasty party shedding its repulsive past? Not a bit of it. These results, for me, are a damning manifestation of the splintering of the anti-racist struggle, a triumph of uncle Tomism and worse. To witness the son of illegal Jewish immigrants (former Conservative leader Michael Howard) strategically mobilising mob instincts against immigrants was bad enough.
"To then have the sons of an African and a Ugandan Asian reiterate these obscene prejudices made me suicidal. They say it isn’t racist to control immigration. But they know how a racist stench rises when they flash such statements across the land. The victors deserve to be despised by egalitarians and people who believe in human rights, just as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are by millions of Americans of colour.”
Afriyie, a trim six-foot two keep-fit enthusiast, admitted: “Yes, I have sometimes faced difficulties. But I’m the sort of person who won’t let things get in my way. I keep going until I hit a wall.” The political newcomer said that he preferred to work quietly behind the scenes to advance civil rights issues alongside libertarian Tory veterans like Richard Shepherd MP. He also said he was friends with Operation Black Vote leader Simon Wooley.
And what of the most famous Black face in the House of Common, left-wing firebrand, turned Tv couch pundit Diane Abbott? Afriyie revealed: “We get on fine. There’s a little un-written agreement between us that we don’t barrack each other in the Commons. Imagine what the press would make of that if we did.”
He is not very keen on journalists. After his surprise selection to eventually become the Queen’s MP (Windsor is her family name afterall) some sections of the tabloid press rubbished him by raising questions about the state of his marriage. Afriyie has since re-married and he and his new wife are expecting a child.
His bad experience with some Fleet Street hacks has led to Afriyie to becoming quite cynical about the media and keen to use the draconian libel laws to protect his reputation. He said: “Most of what they (journalists) write about me is bollocks.” The-Latest beware.
• Has spoken in 47 debates since the General Election — 26th out of 645 MPs.
• Has received answers to 99 written questions since the General Election — 97th
• Has attended 80 per cent of votes in parliament — 263rd