London — British Asian candidates from both the Conservative and Labour parties have demonstrated strong results in the UK’s general election, with around a dozen MPs retaining their seats alongside some new faces.
Fifteen Indian-origin MPs are among 65 non-whites elected to the new 650-member House of Commons on Friday, reflecting 10 per cent of its strength and making it ethnically the most diverse house in British political history.
The last House had 52 MPs from non-white backgrounds, reflecting progressive growth over the decades, building on efforts by various parties and stakeholders to make the British parliament more representative of its population, Hindustan Times newspaper reported.
Conservative party clinched a victory with a solid majority in Thursday’s election, setting the UK on course for an exit from the European Union (EU) in the New Year.
Most of the British Asian MPs from the previous Parliament were successful in clinching their seats, with Gagan Mohindra and Claire Coutinho for the Conservative Party and Navendru Mishra for Labour among the first-timers.
“UK growth has been held back by Brexit uncertainty for too long – but this election result and our Deal ends that. We are unleashing Britain’s potential.
” Sajid Javid expressed his views through twitter after the election result.
“Time to Get Brexit Done and get on with investing in our schools, hospitals and police to keep our streets safe,” said Goan-origin Coutinho, in reference to the central Conservative Party message which clearly resonated with the voters in the polls.
Tories to return to the Commons with comfortable wins include Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer and
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary who are likely to remain in Johnson’s top team in the new Cabinet.
“This has been a hard-fought election in a very cold time of the year because we needed a functioning Conservative majority,” said Patel, who polled 32,876 votes at her Witham constituency in Essex and held on to a majority of 24,082 for the party.
“We are committed to deliver on priorities and getting Brexit done is a priority. The deal is there, we want to move forward,” she said.
Her fellow Cabinet colleagues in the previous Johnson-led government also had a good night, with Rishi Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, clinching 36,693 votes, marking a majority for the Tories of 27,210. Alok Sharma, the former international development minister, polled 24,393 votes to win from Reading West.
Shailesh Vara won his North West Cambridgeshire seat with a solid majority of 25,983, polling 40,307 votes and the Goan-origin, Suella Braverman, clinched Fareham with 36,459 votes, registering a majority of 26,086.
The pro-Brexit MP thanked her constituency team for their unstinting support and hard work.
“Great teamwork in the rain, the cold and the dark! All patriots who want to Get Brexit Done with Boris Johnson,” she tweeted soon after the result was declared.
The Labour Party had a disastrous night overall, losing key seats in its heartlands in the north, but for all the British Asian MPs from the last Parliament there was a reason to celebrate.
Navendru Mishra bagged 21,695 votes to clinch the Stockport seat and become a first-time MP for the party. Preet Kaur Gill, who had made history in the last election as the first British Sikh female MP, was re-elected from Birmingham Edgbaston with 21,217 votes.
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the first turbaned Sikh MP, will also return to the Commons with an impressive 13,640 majority, having polled 29,421 votes from Slough in south-east England and beating Tory Indian-origin rival Kanwal Toor Gill.
Veteran labour MP Virendra Sharma, who had been under pressure by forces within his own party, had a comfortable win from Ealing Southall with 25,678 votes. The others holding on to their seats included Lisa Nandy who won Wigan with 21,042 votes and Seema Malhotra clinched Feltham and Heston with 24,876 votes.
Valerie Vaz, the sister of scandal-hit former MP Keith Vaz who had stepped down ahead of the election, held on to her Walsall South seat with 20,872 votes, beating Tory candidate Gurjit Bains.
The far-right Brexit Party, which had fielded a number of Indian-origin candidates, failed to make a dent in the election, which marked the biggest win for the Conservatives since the 1980s.