• Friday, July 19, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Labour redoubles efforts to win back Muslim voters

The party is telling its activists to focus on 13 Labour-held seats where Muslims make up at least a fifth of the electorate

Labour Party supporters use placards to shelter from the rain, on the day of a Labour Party campaign event, outside of the Mornflake Stadium, in Crewe, Britain, June 13, 2024. REUTERS/Phil Noble

By: Shajil Kumar

While Labour party may be leading in the opinion polls for the upcoming general election, it appears uncertain about its performance in areas with sizeable Muslim populations.

The party has redoubled its efforts by directing activists to campaign in these seats over fears that some voters have been alienated by its initial stance on Gaza.

Labour is telling its activists to focus on 13 Labour-held seats where Muslims make up at least a fifth of the electorate, The Guardian reports.

George Galloway’s triumph in this year’s Rochdale byelection, and a slump in the Labour vote in Muslim areas at last month’s local elections, have sparked concerns.

After the poll results were out, Labour leader Keir Starmer, campaign co-ordinator Pat McFadden and deputy campaign coordinator Ellie Reeves conceded that a lot needs to be done to win back the support of Muslim voters.

Many leaders think that the party’s initial reluctance to call for a full ceasefire in Gaza, and leader Sir Keir Starmer’s comments last October that Israel “has the right” to withhold power and water from Gaza, may have alienated Muslim voters.

Of the 28 constituencies in England where Muslims make up at least a fifth of the electorate – all of them were won by Labour at the 2019 general election.

This time the party wants volunteers to campaign in 13 of them, including three of the four Birmingham seats on the list, both Luton seats, and both Bradford seats.

However a recent poll by Savanta for a news site Hyphen said that 63 per cent of Muslim voters plan to vote Labour. The poll found that the three most important issues for Muslim voters at this election are the NHS, cost of living and the economy.

Thinktank British Future’s director Sunder Katwala said that across the whole of British society, Muslims may be the only demographic where Labour may lose some support.

He also felt that while the impact of Muslim disenchantment with Labour had a big impact during local elections, it may be smaller during the general election.

Katwala felt while a section of younger Muslims may desert Labour, their parents and grandparents would continue to back the party.

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