Lord Sheikh’s letter of 7 July 2014 gives the background to his relinquishing the chairmanship of the CMF. He formally communicated this to the Executive of the CMF at its meeting on Wednesday 25 June 2014. That meeting appointed him as President of the CMF and appointed Mohammed Amin as CMF Chairman and Ash Zaman as CMF Deputy Chairman.
Mohammed Amin paid tribute to Lord Sheikh at the meeting in his speech which is reproduced below.
Speech by Mohammed Amin at CMF Executive 25 June 2014
I would like to say a few words about Lord Sheikh.
Most of us will be familiar with Lord Sheikh’s life story. He was born in Kenya and grew up in Uganda. It was a successful and highly educated family. Indeed his father was a businessman who founded the educational system for Indians in Uganda, while his brother-in-law was the headteacher of a school. However as you know the Ugandan Asians were expelled and Lord Sheikh came to the UK with nothing.
Despite that he worked his way up in the insurance business and eventually became the chairman and main shareholder of a large insurance broker, Camberford Law plc.
In 2005 he was very active in supporting the Conservative Party’s general election campaign and in 2006 Michael Howard elevated him to the House of Lords as the Conservative Party’s first Muslim peer. He founded the Conservative Muslim Forum.
However I have to confess that I had never heard of him and missed that news. It was only in June 2006 that my friend Nash Jaffer first introduced me to Lord Sheikh. As I had been a member of the Conservative Party since 1983, I was delighted to learn about the CMF and have been supporting Lord Sheikh ever since.
I could talk forever about Lord Sheikh’s personal qualities. However I will limit myself to four things.
- He is exceptionally generous. Earlier today I had a look at the Electoral Commission website which provides public information on reportable political donations. There is a list of Lord Sheikh’s donations to the CMF from 2008 to 2014. I will not embarrass him by quoting the total amount. Each of you can check the website for yourself if you wish to know it. Furthermore, I know that Lord Sheikh donates to many charities through the Sheikh Abdullah charitable foundation which he set up in the name of his late father.
- Lord Sheikh is an outstanding leader. He shows this by the way he copes with disagreement. For example, I often disagree with him. We discuss it and agree a way forward. However Lord Sheikh has a principle that if a member of his team really strongly wants to do something, Lord Sheikh is almost always willing to back them, even when he disagrees. I see that as a sign of real leadership.
- Lord Sheikh listens. Whenever we have a major issue at the CMF, I have seen Lord Sheikh going round the table to ensure that every member of the Executive has the opportunity to say what they think.
- Lord Sheikh is a team player. When you look at his letters to the Prime Minister or to the Party Chairman, he always makes a point of praising the efforts of his team and naming the key people involved.
Lord Sheikh will be a very difficult act to follow. All I can do is promise to do my best. In particular I will always remember that I am accountable to you, the Executive, who have just given me the responsibility of leading our team.