Sajid Javid yesterday took control of one of the great offices of state, the latest stage in the long journey from Stapleton Road in Bristol, where he spent his formative years.
Our new Home Secretary grew up one of five sons of a Pakistani immigrant called Abdul-Ghani, who arrived in the UK in 1961 with just £1 in his pocket and gained the nickname ‘Mr Night and Day’ because, Sajid once recalled, he chose ‘to work every hour that God sent his way’.
After stints in a Rochdale cotton mill, and then as a bus driver, Javid’s father moved to Bristol, where he bought a small clothing store on the busy road, which connects the inner city with its north-eastern suburbs.
Sajid Javid grew up in Bristol as one of five sons of a Pakistani immigrant called Abdul-Ghani
His young family were billeted in a two-bedroom flat upstairs. ‘Three brothers were in one bedroom and myself and a younger brother were with my parents in the other,’ Sajid later recalled.
Stapleton Road was once named ‘Britain’s worst street’ by a Sunday newspaper, which dubbed it a ‘lawless hellhole where murder, rape, shootings, drug-pushing, prostitution, knifings and violent robbery are commonplace’.
Aged ten, Sajid witnessed race riots in the nearby St Paul’s district, where ethnic minority residents did battle with the police.
If nothing else, his arrival in the Home Office ticks plenty of boxes. It means that the politician responsible for law and order will have experienced first-hand the ravages of crime. It places a Muslim (albeit rarely practising) in charge of counter-terrorism policy, and ensures that policing will be overseen by someone who has seen, with his own eyes, what happens when forces lose the trust of the communities they serve.
Most importantly, in the short term at least, Sajid Javid’s promotion also puts someone from an immigrant background in charge of clearing up the mess of the Windrush scandal. As he said, his first response on hearing of the affair was to think: ‘It could have been me’.
He was raised on Stapleton Road which was once named ‘Britain’s worst street’ by newspapers
The MP for Bromsgrove, who is 48, owes his success in both busines