The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Gujaratis was officially launched on Tuesday (25) by Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West. Over 110 attendees from various sectors of the community, including grassroots Gujarati organizations, business, and spiritual leaders, show business professionals, and politicians, were present at the event. Representatives from different faith and community organisations, such as the Lohana, Bohra, and Gujarati-Muslim communities, were also in attendance.
The aim of the APPG for British Gujaratis is to address the issues faced by the British Gujarati community, such as support for community languages and elderly care. One major issue raised at the event was the decision to shift direct flights between London and Gujarat from Heathrow to Gatwick without prior consultation. The community had campaigned for over two decades for direct flights between Heathrow and Ahmedabad to reduce travel time and costs for families reuniting with their loved ones or those pursuing business goals.
The event was chaired by Gareth Thomas MP and Bob Blackman MP, co-chairs of the new APPG. Other parliamentarians, including Sam Tarry MP, Munira Wilson MP, and Lord Sahota, spoke at the event to express their support for the group. The APPG also includes officials such as Lord Dholakia, Munira Wilson MP, Shailesh Vara MP, Navendu Mishra MP, and Virendra Sharma MP. However, the group will not campaign on issues related to India or faith, as there are already all-party groups that work on those matters.
During the launch, Thomas MP said, “The launch was a great success with attendees from right across the British Gujarati community. I look forward to now using the APPG with the other MPs and peers to highlight economic and welfare issues facing the community. Over time, I hope to explore issues around more support for the teaching of Gujarati and what more can be done to tackle the health issues that are a little more prevalent among the British Gujarati community, as well as a range of other economic and welfare issues.” The launch of the APPG for British Gujaratis is an important step towards addressing the issues faced by the community and promoting their welfare.