Political and Public Life Awards 2023

I hosted the 15th Annual Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards on 2 February 2023 at the Terrace Pavilion at  House of Commons. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those who have made a special contribution to our political and public life over the last 12 months by breaking the glass ceiling. This year’s roll call of winners includes some of our country’s most important senior political figures, including Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP the Lord President of the Council and the Leader of the House of Commons, and Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP the Leader of His Majesty’s Opposition. Both are towering figures in politics today and utterly committed to diversity. 


Parliamentarian of the Year (Government) Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons, appointed September 2022. She was the first woman to hold the posts of Minister of State for the Armed Forces in 2015 and Secretary of State for Defence in 2019. Penny was a member of the Royal Naval Reserve from 2010 until 2019 and was made an honorary Commander in April 2019.





Parliamentarian of the Year (Opposition) Sir Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Opposition. Keir has been the MP for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015. He served in the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union from 2016 to 2020, and was elected as the Leader of the Opposition on 4 April 2022.







Sir Roger Gale MP Deputy Speaker Chairman of Ways and Means attended the event and presented some awards.







Backbencher of the Year Tobias Ellwood VC MP and Guest of Honour Baroness Arlene Foster of Aghadrumsee DBE PC who presented the award. Tobias Ellwood VC MP has been a MP for Bournemouth East since 2005 and was elected as the Chairman of the Defence Select Committee in January 2020. In 2018 he was commended for an act of bravery in assisting the victim of a terrorist attack in Parliament.








Hotel of the Year – Pendley Manor and The Mandeville: Vinu Bhattessa, Businessman and Trustee. By a happy coincidence Tobias worked at Pendley Manor and took part in a play where he played Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Vinu Bhattessa was awarded the OBE by the Late Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. His country hotel Pedley Manor is famed for its cultural heritage. Every year, over the last 5 decades, it has hosted the famous Shakespeare festival where budding actors in the outdoors perform the entirety of William Shakespeare’s collection for excited audiences.




 Louise Haigh MP




Shadow Cabinet Minister of the Year: Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport. Louise could not be there to accept the award. She served as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2020 to 2021. She was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Transport on 29 November 2021.








International Artist of the Year, Iraqi singer-songwriter Hussam Alrassam and a superstar. He was presented with his award by Tobias Ellwood. With his powerful voice, he has been wowing audiences all over the globe as he reframes traditional poems into heartfelt songs. He created the official song for the AFC Asian Cup and the song was played when Iraq won the 2007 Asian Cup. 

He then sang a song from his hit album Al qodwwd alhalbiya.




A special award was presented to CB Patel, the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. CB is a Publisher and Chairman of the Annual Achievers Awards and the Asian Voice Charity Awards. CB has been a doyen of the community and he received a special award from the Indian Government. He was awarded a gold medal by the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation for his long standing community service. 














International Restaurant of the Year – Madhu’s of Istanbul: Ugur Talayhan, General Manager of the Swissotel the Bosphorus Istanbul, Turkey and Madhu’s of Istanbul. Ugur is a seasoned Turkish and British hotelier with more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality sector. Through his efforts and accomplishments in his area on a global scale, he became a pioneer in Turkey. Madhu’s of Istanbul is part of one of the most famous restaurant chains in Europe.







International Businessman of the Year: J. K. Menon, Chairman of the ABN Corporation. J. K. Menon is a prominent Non-Resident Indian Entrepreneur and is the Chairman of the ABN Corporation, which is headquartered in Doha, Qatar. He was honoured with T. Haridas International Award for Excellence in Business 2022. 










                                                Arts Award: Nishtha Mishra, Founder, The Purple Halo Club.
                                               The Club is women’s only club to promote and celebrate social, economic
cultural, and professional achievements of women.




Councillor of the Year Conservative: Cllr Mina Parmar,
Chair of Housing, London Borough of Harrow. She is the Founder
and Director of Assured HR Solutions. She was awarded a Fellowship
of the Royal Society of Arts in 2020.











Lifetime Achievement in Business: Haider Jaffer. His global business is
headquartered in the UK and employs thousands of people in the hotel  usiness, property and exports. 
He has contributed much to philanthropy
by ensuring local charities in the UK and abroad benefit.












Local Government Politician of the Year: Dr Onkar Sahota AM                                     Member of London Assembly. He was elected to the London Assembly in 2012 and is Chair of the Assembly.







Entrepreneur of the Year: Rishi Patel, Interpolitan Money PLC. Rishi is an innovative and versatile leader with 20 years of experience in financial services, markets and technology. As an experienced financial services executive, he is passionate about simplifying financial products and services.







All the winners have  created a positive impact on British society, whether in the local communities or the international stage. The evening was a great success and there were over 200 guests including Parliamentarians, diplomats from several Embassies, the Armed Forces, business and community leaders.