David Cameron’s secret weapon against jihadis

Published by The Mail on Sunday (26th July, 2015)

It was billed as one of David Cameron’s most important speeches since entering Downing Street, with tough talk on tackling Islamic extremism and ‘the failures of integration’.

Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the Prime Minister’s controversial words on the alienation felt in some communities were shaped by a British Asian aide who admits struggling with his own ethnic identity in the past.

Ameet Gill, born to parents who arrived in Britain as impoverished teenage migrants from rural India, has become one of Mr Cameron’s most trusted advisers since joining his team nine years ago.

The 32-year-old former speechwriter was promoted to No 10’s director of strategy after the General Election. It gives him daily access to the Prime Minister, making him the most influential figure from an ethnic minority background in British politics.

Gill’s background – a testimony to the success of so many immigrant families – ensures he stands out among the elite clique of Cameron advisers dubbed ‘the chumocracy’.

‘I understood these issues of identity and cohesion because I know what it is like to grow up in Britain dealing with them,’ he has told friends.

‘Sometimes you feel British, sometimes you feel Indian, sometimes you feel nothing, and if there was an ideology such as Islamic State around for others like me when I was a teenager, I’ve no doubt some of my friends might have been attracted to it.’

This influence could be seen in David Cameron’s speech last week, which spoke about how jihadis could offer ‘a sense of belonging’ that some young people lack at home, leaving them susceptible to violence against other Britons ‘to whom they feel no real allegiance’.

Gill grew up in Banbury, Oxfordshire, to parents who had an arranged marriage in India aged just 15. Shortly afterwards, his father Darshan, who had only rudimentary education, arrived in Britain to take a job in a car-parts factory.

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