London, The British parliament, down in the dumps over a long-running expenses scandal, is set to brighten up to a touch of Indian glamour Wednesday when it hosts a wedding dinner in honour of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra.
The dinner at the House of Commons is to be hosted by Keith Vaz, Britain’s longest serving MP of Indian origin, and is expected to be attended by prominent British MPs and ministers led by the Leader of the House of Commons and Equality Minister Harriet Harman.
Leading members of the Asian community and corporate leaders will also figure among an estimated 150 guests, said Vaz, who attended the wedding of Shilpa and London-based businessman Kundra in Mumbai November 2009.
“I am absolutely thrilled that we are able to celebrate the wedding of Shilpa and Raj in the House of Commons,” he told IANS Tuesday.
“The wedding ceremony in India was an absolutely beautiful occasion and I am so pleased to be able to bring some of the celebrations to the UK. Both Shilpa and Raj have done so much for charitable causes.”
“Chefs at the House of Commons have created a special dessert called Shilpa’s Delight,” added Vaz, who first met Shilpa after she appeared in Celebrity Big Brother, a TV reality show, in 2007.
Wednesday’s dinner is set to cheer a parliament that has been hit by a scandal over expense claims filed by British MPs, many of which have been criticised as a wastage of public money.
Members returned Tuesday after a much-needed Christmas break following months of media revelations over their expense claims, including one for clearing a moat around an MP’s country estate.
“It’s a dinner in honour of Shilpa and Raj, but I’m sure it will enormously cheer up all of us at the House of Commons because we associate Shilpa with India and glamour,” said Vaz.
“It will cheer us up also because it’s getting so cold here,” said Vaz, as Britain prepared for Arctic weather conditions this week. Temperatures are set to dip to minus 10 in parts of Britain amid predictions of the coldest winter in 100 years.
Shilpa is an international patron of Silver Star, a charity founded by Vaz to raise diabetes awareness.