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Wednesday Dec 11 2019
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UK election: Record number of Muslim MPs expected to be elected

An analysis of constituencies show more than 70 per cent of the newly elected Muslim MPs will be from British Pakistani background. Photo: File

LONDON: Around two dozen Muslims are expected to be elected to the British Parliament on Thursday belonging to Pakistani, Bangladesh and Kurdish backgrounds.

An analysis of constituencies, candidates and trends by Geo and The News shows that more than 70 per cent of the newly elected Muslim MPs will be from a British Pakistani background, followed by Bangladesh.

The highest number of Muslim and Pakistani candidates will be on the Labour ticket, followed by Tories/Conservatives. Around three million Muslims now live in Britain, making them the second-largest religious group after Christians.

Our analysis and breakdown show that the total number of Muslim prospective parliamentary candidates has gone up from just 47 in 2017 to more than 70 to this year’s general elections.

The Labour Party has awarded tickets to 33 Muslim candidates. Of these, 16 look comfortable to win their seats against the Tory opponents, unless there is a big upset on Election Day.

The number of Muslims on Conservative seats have doubled from just three candidates in 2017 to six. The Conservative Party has given tickets to 22 Muslim candidates, however, only five are considered to be on safe seats.

The Liberal Democrats who have never had a Muslim MP look to change with 17 candidates in the running. Out of the 17 candidates who have been given tickets against Labour and Tory opponents, two could win their seats for the first time.

The following candidates are participating on Labour ticket.

Mohammad Yasin in Bedford; Shabana Mahmood in Birmingham Ladywood; Khalid Mahmood in Birmingham Perry Barr; Yasmin Qureshi in Bolton South East; Afzal Khan in Manchester Gorton, Imran Hussain in Bradford East; Naz Shah in Bradford West; Faisal Rashid in Warrington South; and Dr Rosena Allen-Khan in Tooting.

All of the above mentioned candidates won in 2017 elections from same seats and are expected to win this time around as well.

Zara Sultana in Coventry South and Tahir Ali in Birmingham Hall Green have been awarded ticket from safe seats and are likely to win.

Rushnara Ali in Bethnal Green & Bow, Rupa Haq in Ealing Central & Acton, Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead & Kilburn are of Bangladeshi origin. Three of them were part of the last parliament while Apsana Begum has been allotted a ticket from Labour safe seat of Poplar & Lime House.

Ibrahim Dogus of Kurdish origin has been awarded ticket from Labour safe seat of West Bromwich which was previously held by Labour’s outgoing deputy leader Tom Watson. Another strong Labour candidate of Kurdish origin is Faryal Clark who is contesting from Enfield North, a labour safe seat in North of London.

Azhar Ali, Khalil Ahmed and Faiza Shaheen are Labour candidates from Pendle, Wycombe and South Woodford respectively. Conservative party’s Andrew Stephenson, Steve Baker and Ian Duncan Smith, previously held all three constituencies. All of them have been running strong campaigns to oust their Tory opponents. Faiza Shaheen has won support from lots of public figures including actor Hugh Grant. It will be a huge election upset if Shaheen manages to unseat Tory grandee Ian Duncan Smith.

The Muslim vote in general and Pakistani/Kashmiri communities vote in particular can be decisive in several seats.

Also campaigning for a seat on Labour’s ticket from Uxbridge, Ali Milani of Iranian origin is challenging to unseat Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party Boris Johnson.

The following of Kashmiri/Pakistani origin are set to take Conservative seats:

Sajid Javid in Bromsgrove, Nusrat Ghani in Wealden; and Rehman Chishti in Gillingham. Nadhim Zahawi in Stratford-upon-Avon is of Kurdish origin.

Saqib Bhatti is a newcomer and has been awarded a Tory ticket from a safe seat of Meriden.

Imran Ahmed Khan of Pakistani origin and Mo Ali of Somali origin will have a close fight with Labour’s Marry Creagh and Anna McMorrin from Wakefield and Cardiff North respectively. Both seats were held by Labour in previous elections.

Liberal Democrats who have never awarded a ticket to any Muslim candidate, have shortlisted Hina Bokhari in Sutton & Cheam and Humaira Malik in Bermondsey & Southwark. These two constituencies were held by Liberal Democrats until 2010 but lost to Conservative party in 2015 elections. A strong remain vote on Brexit can win both seats for Liberal Democrats due to the party’s anti-Brexit stance.

Another promising candidate is Kamran Hussain in Leeds North West.

Although the Brexit Party and Green Party have awarded tickets to Muslim candidates, they are unlikely to make any significant impact in the elections.

Scottish SNP and Welsh Plaid Cymru parties did not give tickets to any Muslim candidate in this election.