A second Sikh candidate has today been confirmed by the Labour party for the upcoming elections, a move welcomed by British Sikhs who lauded the party’s effort for increasing the representation of the community in UK Parliament.
Kuldip Singh Sahota, a former councillor, will fight to overturn a small Conservative party majority of 730 (1.8 per cent) and regain the Telford constituency in the West Midlands region of England for the Labour party in the June 8 election.
“Kuldip has always been passionate about promoting Telford and standing up for the towns best interests,” a party statement said.
The India-born candidate who has been based in Telford for 51 years joins Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, known as Tan, who is hoping to hold on to the Slough constituency, where previous Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart won by a majority of 7,336 (15.2 per cent) in the 2015 election.
Other Indian-origin candidates selected by the party include Preet Kaur Gill, who is hoping to become the first female British Sikh MP in the House of Commons if she wins in Birmingham Edgbaston.
“In terms of Sikh representation, the Conservatives have been left behind with only Paul Uppal selected for Wolverhampton South West, who is clear favourite to regain the seat from Labour, and Samir Jassal, selected in the safe Labour seat of Feltham and Heston,” Sikh Federation UK said in a statement.
The group, which has set up a steering committee to lobby for greater Sikh representation in the June general election, claims that nearly half a dozen turban-wearing Sikhs on the approved list of candidates failed to get selected centrally by the Conservative Party in shortlists for consideration by local members to contest the polls.
“So whilst Labour has proactively used its central selection process to get better Sikh representation, the Conservatives appear to have given this low priority and relatively speaking gone backwards, especially with regards to turban-wearing Sikhs and Sikh women as MPs,” the group said.
The Labour party has selected three other British Sikh candidates but they are contesting Tory strongholds and unlikely to make the cut this year.
Rocky Gill, who has been a Barking and Dagenham councillor since 2010, has been selected for Hornchurch and Upminster, where the Conservatives have a majority of 13,074 (23.7 per cent); Manjinder Singh Kang, a solicitor, has been selected for Tewksbury, where the Conservatives have a majority of 21, 972 (39.7 per cent); and Councillor Bally Singh for Kenilworth and Southam, where the Conservatives have a majority of 21,002 (43 per cent).