Minister for Faith and Communities
Every month we will be bringing you an exclusive insight of a day in the life of an influential personality. Looking at what inspires them, defining the passion they have for what they do and exploring a day of their life. Meet Sayeeda Warsi. Politician. Mother. Wife. Currently Minister for Faith and Communities at the Department for Communities and Local Government, she has risen to the top in male-dominated Tory party. She was made a member of the House of Lords in 2007 – which at the time she was the youngest person to be given a life peerage. In a controversial move in 2010, she was appointed as the Co-Chairperson of the Conservative Party – a selection that lasted two years. Love her or hate her, you cannot deny that she is one of the most powerful Muslim women in the country. The Asian Today’s Hifzha Shaheen sat down with the Minister to talk about her life, work and Whatsapp…
What’s an average day in your life like?
6am – Usually I am up for about 6am. If I am feeling energetic, I try to get to the gym really early in the morning.
7am – I start listening to various news programmes including the Today programme on Radio 4 to get myself up to date with the political world.7:45 – 8:30 – First meetings take place. This is the time where I usually get in to the office. Some of the meetings I have been booked for months. It all depends on what issue I am dealing with at the time.
8:30 – 12:30 – Meetings with my immediate team. Meetings with people from outside of government and officials within government Preparing for big events that we might be organising and any visits that might be happening overseas.
12:30 – 1:30 – Lunch, which usually means that someone will come in to speak to me whilst I eat! 2:30 – The House of Lords start. You have parliamentary questions and debates most days. So usually, I am in the chamber. I will then do questions on foreign policy issues, which I am responsible for and then there are debates in the afternoon and evening. During the afternoon, we have votes. I then have further meetings or I am attending receptions or hosting a dinner.
10pm – House rises.
10:15 – If I am lucky I try and get home before this. When I do eventually go home, I have to go home with a ministerial box with all my papers in. I then start to go through all my letters and preparation for the next day.
12am: After talking to my husband on the phone – I go to sleep at midnight. The average working week is about 80 hours.
Do you consider yourself a morning person?In this job, you can be neither a morning person or an evening person. You just have to be a 24-hour person!
Have you ever woken up thinking; I don’t want to go in to work today? I have woken up thinking I am too exhausted to get out of bed! It is mostly ‘I am too physically exhausted to drag myself out of bed’. There are tough days that make you think why do I put myself through this, but then I go back and remind myself of why I came into politics which is that I fundamentally believe that the relationships between communities can be better and that I can play a role in that.
Do you ever take a break?
The one thing I am really bad at is switching off. My family are constantly saying that I do not know how to relax and have fun. They are always taking the mickey out of me and say “Mommy’s allergic to fun.”
Three words to describe your day: – BUSY. VARIED. PRODUCTIVE
Quick Fire Questions:
One drink that gets you through the day: Coconut Water
· One person that gets you through the day: Andrew (My Office Manager)
· One gadget that gets you through the day: iPhone (Communicating with family through Watsapp Group)
· One song that gets you through the day: Tum Hi Ho (Aashiqui 2)
· One food that gets you through the day: Sushi