Following the Labour Party’s disastrous showing in last December’s UK General Election, much has been said on the breakdown of its relationship with traditional working-class voters in the industrial heartlands. However, figures suggest that there has also been a notable fraying of ties between Labour and British voters of Indian origin. In Harrow East – a west London seat with a sizeable Indian-origin population – Labour fell some way behind. Meanwhile, incumbent Conservative MP Bob Blackman increased his vote share by five percentage points. Leicester has one of the largest Indian-born populations in Britain. In the last election, in the constituencies of Leicester West and Leicester East, Labour’s vote share dropped by 11 and 16 percentage points respectively.
So is the British Left losing British Indians, who traditionally provided high levels of electoral support for Labour? What are the kind of social values which run deep in British Indian communities? And is there now an opportunity for the Conservatives to establish themselves as the natural party of British Indians? Getting to grips with such questions, the Henry Jackson Society was delighted to hold our online event, “Is the Left Losing British Indians?”.
Sundip Meghani is a solicitor who currently works for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). A former city councillor and parliamentary candidate in his home of Leicester, he recently resigned from the Labour Party after serving it for 20 years. Delivering his resignation letter on this year’s India Independence Day, Sundip described Labour as an “institutionally racist and anti-Indian” party that “acts against the interests of working people”. In terms of educational qualifications, Sundip has a degree in politics and contemporary history, a graduate diploma in law, and a postgraduate diploma in legal practice.
Sunny Hundal is an award-winning writer and journalist who has founded a number of politically progressive websites, such as Liberal Democracy, Asians in Media, and Barfi Culture. He has reported on Britain’s South Asian communities for over 20 years, and written for a wide range of publications, including The Times, The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, CNN, and Al-Jazeera.
Sadia Hameed is a multi-award winning human rights advocate. She is currently the Founder and Co-Director of Four Freedoms. Sadia has worked in the women’s sector for the past decade, with a specialist focus on harmful traditional practices. She was the winner of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation’s (IKWRO) Activist of the Year award and Lift Effect’s Star Award in 2017, for her work campaigning against honour-based violence and other forms of harmful traditional practices.
Cohesion should always be a priority and Rakib's polling adds more weight to that to demand. However, it remains to be said that the unrest in Leicester was predominantly one sided, leaving Hindus feeling under attack and unheard.
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