Ranil Jayawardena, the British MP from North East Hampshire came into the limelight in Sri Lanka when he won the recent British Parliamentary Election with a total of 35,573 votes. Jayawardena has a background in financial services and has served his local council previously but the island nation knows very little of the man who bears the names of two of its prominent leaders.
His official website stated, “In his spare time, Ranil likes watching cricket and tennis. He also has a real interest in local history and spends some of his free time reading on the subject, as well as enjoying walks in the local area, shooting, board games and the occasional trip to the local theatre.”
Ceylon Today via email interviewed Jayawardena on his politics. Following are excerpts of the interview:
? . As a person of Sri Lankan origin, did you believe that mainstream British society would vote you into Parliament
A. Britain is a very tolerant and open society, and because of that we are very lucky. There were some negative comments from the UKIP candidate Blay, but these are in no way reflected in the views of the people of North East Hampshire. This is demonstrated by the fact that they voted me in!
?. What is the percentage of Sri Lankans in your constituency and did you receive their support
A. I’m not sure! I received support from people from all backgrounds though, and for this I am very grateful.
? . Can you give us a brief overview of your journey to being an MP in Westminster
A. My parents both serve our community, my mother as a School Governor and my father as a Magistrate. I wanted to find a way to do the same. I first became involved with local politics when I served as a Borough Councillor in 2006, I was then appointed to the Borough Cabinet in 2011 and Deputy Leader of the Council in 2012. It has been a great privilege to represent local people at a local level and I am looking forward to doing so in Parliament.
? . Why did you choose to represent the Conservative Party and not Labour or Liberal Democrats
A. The Conservatives are the only party that really believes in the family, and this is something I feel very strongly about. Taking responsibility for yourself and your family is also very important, and not overly relying on the State and the Conservatives will help Britain to do this. Britain has achieved many things over the past five years; we are now one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, we have halved our deficit, and more people are in work than ever before. These achievements are the results of the Conservative Party’s efforts, results that no one else could deliver. Over the next five years, we will build upon these successes, ensuring a better future for Britain.
? . What are the current challenges that you are facing now that you have been elected
A. As a new Member of Parliament, I don’t have an office yet, or a telephone, or even any pens!
On a slightly more serious note, my next challenge will be to do with joining committees and parliamentary groups.
? . Do you intend to become the next Premier of the UK? What are your chances
A. I’ve only been a Member of Parliament for a few weeks, so I’m just concentrating on the day-to-day tasks! We are lucky to have such a strong leader in our current Prime Minister, David Cameron.