The Queen's personal representative in the West Midlands has resigned after an email he wrote containing derogatory remarks about British Pakistanis was leaked to a newspaper. Paul Sabapathy CBE, HM Lord-Lieutenant of West Midlands, wrote British Pakistanis needed to be taught "basic common courtesy and civility" after attending an event in the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham on 14 August.
The comments, seen by the Guardian newspaper, were allegedly prompted by a group of around 20 Pakistani men talking as he tried to address the event to commemorate Pakistan's Independence Day. Sabapathy, who is originally from Chennai, India, apologised "unreservedly and wholeheartedly" for the remarks. He stepped down from his post, which he has held for eight years, on 11 September.
"Pakistanis are lovely people individually but there is a lot of work to do to teach them basic common courtesy and civility," he reportedly wrote in the email. "They talk to themselves and do not engage with the wider community. They are living in the UK not Pakistan. 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."
Announcing his resignation, Sabapathy, 72, told the Guardian: "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.
"I have asked for their forgiveness in the hope that my comments do not damage relationships between the many communities of the West Midlands. There is not one iota of prejudice on my part and I am deeply sorry for the upset I have caused and I offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies."
A Buckingham Palace statement thanked Sabapathy for his service to the royal family.