Peer Sayeeda Warsi splits with husband

Dewsbury peer Sayeeda Warsi has split from her husband after 17 years of marriage.

Baroness Warsi, a member of the Tory shadow cabinet, today confirmed that her marriage to Naeem was over.

It is understood her husband moved out of the family home in Dewsbury at the end of September, three months after Baroness Warsi was made Westminster's first Muslim frontbencher.

She today told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "It is true but I do not want to talk about it. It is a private matter. I do not want to comment any further."

The couple have a 10-year-old daughter, Aamna.

The split comes amid confusion over whether or not their marriage was arranged.

Baroness Warsi, 36, has previously told how she met Naeem while on a holiday with her extended family to Pakistan at the age of 15, where local families proposed their sons as suitable suitors.

She said she liked Naeem because he reminded her of Sanjay from BBC TV soap EastEnders.

They kept in touch, and married when Baroness Warsi was 19.

She explained: "I had been to Leeds University and met lots of people who could have been potential partners, had I wanted them to be.

"But I got engaged at the end of my first year of university and married six months later.

"I knew that he was someone my parents approved of; he seemed to have all the right kind of characteristics and I thought he looked all right.

"Thereafter whether or not the marriage worked was all down to luck. But that's the same for all marriages.

"I could have met someone at university, married him at 19 and split up at 25."

Defending arranged marriages, she added: "Arranged marriages have a good statistical chance, because the process is a lot more analytical.


"There must be a lot of mothers who wish their daughters would be a bit more analytical about whom they brought home."

But Naeem, 36, the managing director of his own manufacturing firm, is reported to have denied their marriage was arranged.

He said: "When I came to this country, she was in the second year of university – we met there and fell in love. It was a love story, not a traditional arranged marriage."

Confirmation of the split comes a fortnight after Baroness Warsi, the Conservative's shadow community cohesion minister, helped to win a pardon for a British schoolteacher who was jailed in the Sudan for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Mohammed.