FIRST-TIME Asian MPs Rishi Sunak, Tulip Siddiq, Naz Shah and Rupa Huq joined other minority MPs who kept their seats following last night’s general election.
Sunak stood for the Conservatives in the safe seat vacated by former foreign secretary William Hague in Richmond, York, while Siddiq, Shah and Huq are new Labour MPs from Hampstead and Kilburn, Bradford West and Ealing Central and Acton respectively.
A record number of ethnic minority MPs have been elected – 41, compared to 27 in 2010, according to the British Future thinktank. Of the 27 ethnic minority MPs in the last parliament who stood again at this election, 25 kept their seats. Conservative Paul Uppal lost from Wolverhampton South West while Labour’s Anas Sarwar lost in Glasgow Central to the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Veteran MPs Keith Vaz, Sadiq Khan, Virendra Sharma (Labour) and Sajid Javid, Priti Patel and Shailesh Vara (Conservatives) kept their seats in the Commons, as did Seema Malhotra, Khalid Mahmood, Shabana Mahmood and Rushanara Ali, all of whom retained their majorities as Labour MPs.
In his victory speech early on Friday morning (May 8), Sadiq Khan thanked “team Labour” for having confidence in the “son of immigrants, the son of a bus driver raised on a council estate” to be the Labour candidate for Tooting for the third occasion. He also paid tribute to the “ordinary” people of Tooting who had contributed to his success.
Khan told Eastern Eye he was humbled to return as MP for the south London seat which has a “small ethnic minority” population.
“But it shows the rest of the country that actually the fact that you are an ethnic minority you are not disadvantaged, if you’re a hard working politician, a hard working MP, people will vote for you irrespective of your background,” he said.
Nationally, the Conservatives won 331 seats, Labour 232; the Scottish National Party 56 and the Liberal Democrats, eight. Turnout at this general election was 66.1 per cent, a small rise from 65.1 per cent in 2010.
Initial analysis by pressure group Operation Black Vote showed that there was a five per cent rise in turnout in East Ham, London; similar increases were seen in Brent North, (62 per cent in 2010 to 63.5 per cent); Ealing North (65.7 per cent against 63 per cent in 2010) and in Birmingham Ladywood (48 per cent five years ago to 52.7 per cent in 2015).