Diwali reception in 10, Downing Street

The reception, attended by Indian High Commissioner Nalin Surie and several leading British Indians, saw Cameron lighting a traditional Diwali lamp. Cameron said: "I think this a great festival to celebrate. It's a little known fact, but actually the Diwali celebrations in Leicester are the second largest in the world outside India. I think we should also recognise the enormous contribution that your community makes to our country".

"We have people who've done amazing things in terms of entrepreneurialism and business. We also have people who've made a huge contribution to the artistic and cultural life of our country.

"I think when we look at what British Hindus, British Indians have contributed to our country in every single sphere they have excelled and we should celebrate that here in this room tonight for all that you contribute to our country," he said.

Cameron said he and Surie would light lamps, but Surie said that as the head of the 10, Downing Street household, "traditionally you must light the first lamp". Surie added: "The light symbolises the victory of good over evil, it symbolises the victory of hope, it symbolises the victory of perseverance, and I think it is a sign of prosperity in the year ahead. So may this New Year bring prosperity to all of us, and may you succeed in your endeavours".

The gathering included Indian-origin MPs such as Keith Vaz, Priti Patel and several Indian-origin members of the royal air force.

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