U.K. all set for elections giving shape to a vibrant Parliament

U.K. elections

newstracklive / PC Thomas

LONDON: The upcoming UK general election on tomorrow,4th July, is poised to create the most diverse Parliament in British history, particularly with a significant number of MPs of Indian heritage expected to be elected nationwide. According to a report by the British Future Regulator, if the Labour Party secures a majority, it is likely to have the largest number of ethnic minority MPs, a number that could increase further in a landslide victory scenario.

This election marks a milestone with approximately 14% of MPs coming from ethnic minority backgrounds, bringing the new Parliament closer than ever to reflecting the diverse British electorate.

Director of British Future, Sunder Katwala, commented, “This election will witness the highest increase in ethnic minority representation and the most diverse Parliament to date. Over the past 40 years, we have seen a transformation from no ethnic minority MPs to one in every seven MPs. Britain is rapidly bridging the gap between parliamentary diversity and the diversity of its population.”

In the last general election in 2019, 15 MPs of Indian descent were elected, many of whom are seeking re-election alongside several newcomers. Notable figures like Conservative Party MP Alok Sharma and Labour stalwart Virendra Sharma will not be contesting this time, leaving vacancies in Reading West and Ealing Southall respectively.

In constituencies with a significant Punjabi electorate like Ealing Southall, two British Sikh candidates, Sangeet Kaur Bhail and Jaginder Singh, are running as Independents.

Key candidates of British Indian origin to watch in Thursday’s polls include Praful Nargund from Labour in Islington North, former seat of Jeremy Corbyn, now contested as an Independent. Other contenders include Jas Athwal in Ilford South, Baggy Shanker in Derby South, Satvir Kaur in Southampton Test, and Harpreet Uppal in Huddersfield, all competing in closely contested seats.

Rajesh Agrawal, former Deputy Mayor of London for Business, born in Indore, is vying to become a first-time MP from Leicester East, up against Conservative candidate Shivani Raja. This constituency, representing a large Indian heritage electorate, also features the seasoned campaigner Keith Vaz, contesting as an Independent.

British Sikhs are also making their mark, with candidates like solicitor Warinder Juss from Wolverhampton West and Gurinder Singh Josan from Smethwick, both aiming to bolster Labour’s presence. Bihar-born Kanishka Narayan is contesting in Vale of Glamorgan, eyeing to become the first Indian-origin MP from Wales, while Sonia Kumar seeks to overturn a Tory majority in Dudley.

For the Conservative Party, candidates like Chandra Kanneganti in Stoke-on-Trent Central and Ameet Jogia in Hendon face challenging races in constituencies traditionally leaning towards Labour.

“A diverse Parliament brings varied perspectives to policymaking, potentially leading to more effective governance. MPs from diverse backgrounds serve as role models for their communities, encouraging youth participation in politics,” noted Jill Rutter, Associate Fellow at British Future, who led the think tank’s analysis.

In terms of vulnerability to a Labour swing, sitting Tory MPs of British Indian descent include Shailesh Vara from North West Cambridgeshire, Gagan Mohindra from South West Hertfordshire, and Claire Coutinho from East Surrey.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to retain his seat in Richmond and Northallerton, alongside former Cabinet colleagues Priti Patel in Witham and Suella Braverman in Fareham and Waterlooville.

With retirements and departures, mainly from the Conservative ranks, the new Parliament elected on Friday will welcome approximately 158 new MPs to the House of Commons.


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