By: Eastern Eye Staff
British Asian candidates across both the Conservative and Labour parties on Friday (13) registered strong results in the UK’s general election, with around a dozen MPs retaining their seats alongside some new faces.
Prime minister Boris Johnson clinched an emphatic victory in Thursday’s election, setting the UK on course for an exit from the European Union (EU) in the New Year.
All 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.
“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.
She won the Surrey East Tory-held seat polling 35,624 votes, with an impressive majority of 24,040 for the party. Mohindra also won his Hertfordshire South West seat decisively with 30,327 votes and a majority of 14,408.
The other Tories to return to the Commons with comfortable wins include Priti Patel, the home secretary who is likely to remain in Johnson’s top team in the new Cabinet as well.
“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.
Chancellor Sajid Javid, too, is likely to remain in Johnson’s top team. Javid was re-elected in Bromsgrove, won a majority of 23,106 over Labour’s Rory Shannon.
He said he was “thrilled” with the result.
Javid’s 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 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 its 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 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.
Labour’s Tulip Siddiq, Rushanara Ali and Rupa Huq were all re-elected from their respective constituencies.
Siddiq retained her Hampstead and Kilburn seat with a margin of 14,188 votes bagging 28,080 against her Conservative rival Johnny Luk, and Ali was re-elected as the MP of Bethnal Green and Bow with a majority of 44,052 votes.
Haq retained the Ealing Central and Acton seat for Labour, bagging 28,132 votes against her Conservative rival Julian Gallant’s 14,832 votes.
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.