Number 10 Diwali Reception at the Durbar Court FCO – 15 November 2018

With the Government in turmoil over the Brexit Agreement and Theresa May the Prime Minister busy dealing with dissent Mr James Brokenshire MP the Communities Secretary and the Prime Minister’s husband Mr Philip May came to the rescue and welcomed the Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities at the magnificent Durbar Court in the Foreign Office.

Representing the Hindu Council U.K. as its founding member I was there with my wife Dr Santosh Bhanot from the Asian Circle of women and the E M Foundation COO Mr Hashmukh Pankhania.

In spite of the upbeat celebratory atmosphere there seemed to be murmurings one could hear about the plight of Theresa May:

  • She has brought a Deal keeping the U.K. intact including, with the greatest difficulty a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and Eire, thus maintaining the integrity of the PEACE process.
  • She has stopped the free movement of people and ECJ ruling on immigration for which people actually only voted for in the EU Referendum
  • She has ensured a free access to the EU Single Market for goods by negotiating a Customs Union for goods only where the only laws to be dictated by EU are those that U.K. would have to make in any case to sell goods to the single market and on Tax laws she compromised only the VAT harmonisation which I know as a practising accountant is the most convenient way of doing business with the big bloc on our doorstep.
  • She has ensured our independent sovereignty to strike new Deals with other nations without recourse to the EU

I remember I used to hear the Brexiteers say, ‘we’ll get free access to the single market but without free movement of people’ and the EU used to say, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it’. But surely this agreement gives us exactly that.

I have not read a page of the agreement but without getting mired into detail I see it good for business, good for Northern Ireland peace, good for jobs, good for environment, good for food standards – I could go on and moreover it gives us the much needed certainty the businesses now need.

As we were leaving the Durbar Court we were handed over boxes of milk-cakes.

Perhaps with a symbolic message:

Have Your Cake And Eat It
Voting FOR the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement.

The cakes may lack a cherry on the top, which perhaps some MP’s desire but EU will never offer us that, the EU leaders Junker-Macron-Merkel are on record to have said, ‘they want to punish the British people’, so surely we ought to create our own cherry possibly through the AI technologies over the next few years but the time now is for all MP’s to unite and support this draft agreement in what will be seen in history as in our national interest.


Anil Bhanot OBE
Chair E M Foundation Group
Founding Member Hindu Council UK
[Chartered Accountant in Practice]