India-born Paul Sabapathy, Britain’s first non-white Lord Lieutenant who represented Queen Elizabeth II in the West Midlands for almost eight years, has resigned after his personal e-mail containing controversial remarks about the British-Pakistani community was leaked, media reports said.
“Pakistanis are lovely people individually but there is a lot of work to do to teach them basic common courtesy and civility,” The Guardian reported on Friday, citing an e-mail Sabapathy wrote after attending the celebrations of Pakistan’s Independence Day in Birmingham on August 14. “They talk to themselves and do not engage with the wider community. They are living in the UK not Pakistan,” the leaked e-mail further read.
“Whilst being rightly proud of their Pakistani culture and heritage they need to explain better and engage more with their non-Pakistani brothers and sisters if they want their children to succeed as British Pakistani citizens,” wrote Sabapathy in his e-mail.
In a statement that he issued, Sabapathy, who was born in Chennai and moved to Britain in 1964, said he had decided to stand down and wanted to offer an unreserved apology. “I wish to apologise unreservedly and wholeheartedly for the offence I have caused to the Pakistani community and others, by the contents of my private email. I have today written to all those who received my original email to express my sincere sorrow and regret,” his statement read.
Lord lieutenants are the representatives of the crown for each county in Britain. They are appointed by Queen Elizabeth on the advice of the prime minister. The main duties of lord lieutenants include arranging royal visits to their respective regions, and present medals and awards on behalf of the Queen.