Mahatma Gandhi will be first non-white figure on British coin


Mahatma Gandhi was an anti-colonial campaigner, who led the protest against British rule in India.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Mahatma Gandhi was an anti-colonial campaigner, who led the protest against British rule in India.

Mahatma Gandhi is set to be the first non-white person to feature on British currency, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee is working to create a coin featuring the anti-colonial campaigner, who led the protest against British rule in India.

It comes as Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, last night threw his support behind a campaign for BAME figures to feature on coins, saying their contribution to Britain should be recognised. In a letter to former Conservative candidate Zehra Zaidi, who is leading the We Too Built Britain campaign, which has called for ethnic minority people to feature on currency, Sunak said: “Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities have made a profound contribution to the shared history of the United Kingdom.

“For generations, ethnic minority groups have fought and died for this country we have built together; taught our children, nursed the sick, cared for the elderly; and through their enterprising spirit have started some of our most exciting and dynamic businesses, creating jobs and driving growth.”

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The Telegraph revealed last week that Sunak was looking at proposals from the campaign, which is supported by a host of historians and MPs.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee is an independent committee made up of experts who recommend themes and designs of coins to the Chancellor, in his role as Master of the Mint.

Mahatma Gandhi is set to be the first non-white person to feature on British currency.

Central Press/Getty Images

Mahatma Gandhi is set to be the first non-white person to feature on British currency.

Sunak added: “I am writing today to the Chair of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC), Lord Waldegrave… asking the RMAC Sub-Committee on Themes to consider recognising the contributions of Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority individuals – not just to our history, but to our present and future as well”.

Zaidi said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s support of our three-year campaign on legal tender and for a set of coins on ‘Service to the Nation’.”

She added: “We are ready and keen to work with HM Treasury and Royal Mint officials to ensure the process is as inclusive as possible. Let’s use this set of coins to celebrate the best of Britain.”