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A Look at Indian-Origin Candidates Gearing up for UK Polls

A record number of 56 Indian-origin candidates will fight it out in the British snap polls to be held on Thursday.

Published
World
6 min read
Incumbent MPs Virendra Sharma, Priti Patel, and Keith Vaz (Photo: Altered by <b>The Quint)</b>

The 2015 elections in UK saw a record number of Indian-origin MPs entering the British cabinet. Keeping up the tandem, there will be a record number of 56 Indian-origin candidates fighting it out in the British snap polls to be held on Thursday.

While the Labour party will be fielding 14 candidates, the Conservatives will field 13, and the Liberal Democrats, touted to be the third player in the upcoming polls, will field 14 candidates.

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Candidates of Indian-Origin

The Labour party currently has five Indian-origin MPs in the House of Commons – Keith Vaz, sister Valerie Vaz, Virendra Sharma, Seema Malhotra, and Lisa Nandy.

Similarly, the ruling onservatives have a total of five MPs in the lower house – Priti Patel, Alok Sharma, Shailesh Vara, Rishi Sunak, and Suella Fernandes.

<i>(Source: Hindustan Times)</i>
(Source: Hindustan Times)


<i>(Source: Hindustan Times)</i>
(Source: Hindustan Times)


<i>(Source: Hindustan Times)</i>
(Source: Hindustan Times)

Apart from the three dominant parties, the UK Independent Party (UKIP) supposedly has five, and the Green Party has a tally of four Indian-origin candidates.

Here’s a look at some of the candidates that the Indian community should watch out for on the night of 8 June.

Priti Patel

(Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.priti4witham.com/gallery?page=1">priti4witham.com</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: priti4witham.com)

Currently serving as the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel is the senior-most person of Indian-origin in the UK cabinet.

Patel was first elected as to the Parliament as a Tory member from Witham constituency in May 2010, and was re-elected in the 2015 polls. Campaigning hard in favour of Brexit, Patel will be standing for re-election from the Conservative stronghold.

She garners tremendous support from the Indian diaspora, having served as the UK India Diaspora Champion in November 2013, under David Cameron’s regime.

Talking to PTI, she said:

The Indian diaspora in the UK are fantastic at keeping this relationship strong and work hard every day to support the UK and India reach our potential.
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Shailesh Vara

(Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.shaileshvara.com/about">shaileshvara.com</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: shaileshvara.com)

Shailesh Vara is a Conservative Party politician, and served as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice in the David Cameron government in 2015. He was first elected to the Parliament from North West Cambridgeshire in 2005, and was re-elected in 2010 and 2015.

He won the 2015 general election with a vote count of 32,070 votes. During his stint as the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice, he also held additional responsibility in the Department for Work and Pensions.

He currently serves as the co-chair of the Conservative Friends of India (CFI).

Keith Vaz

(Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.keithvaz.net/">keithvaz.net</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: keithvaz.net)

Possibly the most prominent Indian face in British politics, Labour party’s Keith Vaz is the longest-serving British-Asian MP in the UK’s Parliament.

Vaz was first elected to the Parliament in 1987, and has been re-elected seven times since.

He was made the chairman of the National Executive Committee’s Ethnic Minority Taskforce in 2006, and continues to hold the position till date. He also served as the Minister for Europe in the Tony Blair government.

Last year, Vaz courted controversy when he allegedly paid two male escorts of Eastern European descent for sex and offered to buy them drugs. He was forced to quit as the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee after the revelation was made.

Vaz will fight out the 8 June elections from his home ground, Leicester East, despite repeated calls for his resignation.

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Virendra Sharma

(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/virendrasharmamp/photos/a.435027764708.235450.45876494708/45876804708/?type=1&amp;theater">VirendraSharmaMP</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/VirendraSharmaMP)

Virendra Sharma is a Labour party politician. He was first elected to Parliament from Ealing Southall in 2007. Since then, he has served the constituency twice, with over 19,000 votes in the most recent 2015 elections.

He has served as a member of the International Development Select Committee, Health Select Committee, and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Seema Malhotra

(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/SeemaMalhotraMP/photos/a.660093740703049.1073741825.660093150703108/660093754036381/?type=1&amp;theater">SeemaMalhotraMP</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/SeemaMalhotraMP)

Seema Malhotra was first elected as MP from Feltham and Heston in December 2011. Her Facebook bio reads:

I have campaigned locally for support for small businesses, tackling unemployment, improving public health and civic engagement.

She served as the Opposition Whip in the House of Commons from October 2013 to December 2015. She was then made Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities from May 2015 to September 2015.

She will fight the 8 June elections from her home constituency, Feltham and Heston.

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Rishi Sunak

(Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://www.rishisunak.com/about-me">rishisunak.com</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: rishisunak.com)

Rishi Sunak won his debut election in 2015 as a Conservative Party candidate from Richmond constituency. Son-in-law of Indian tech tycoon Narayan Murthy, Sunak replaced former foreign minister Lord William Hague in the 2015 elections where he won 51% of the votes polled.

In an interview with the Times of India after his win, Sunak said his plans for the constituency included:

Getting better broadband and mobile signals throughout the constituency; supporting our small businesses and farms so our local economy continues to thrive and create jobs; making sure our young people have exciting apprenticeships and good schools to help them fulfil their own ambitions and ensuring our local healthcare services and hospitals remain accessible and of high quality.

Paul Uppal

(Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://.pauluppal.co.uk">pauluppal.co.uk</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: pauluppal.co.uk)

Paul Uppal was first elected to Parliament as a Conservative candidate from Wolverhampton South West in 2010, and was in office till 2015. He lost his seat to Rob Morris in 2015 by 801 votes.

Reentering the political fray in the upcoming elections, Uppal reportedly declared:

I relish the chance. I would love to do it again.

With incumbent MP Rob Morris stepping down, Uppal is confident that he will win the elections this time around.

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Neeraj Patil

(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Dr.neerajpatil/photos/a.1480142238865568.1073741826.1480141908865601/1480142318865560/?type=1&amp;theater">DrNeerajPatil</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/DrNeerajPatil)

Fielded as the Labour party candidate from Putney, Dr Neeraj Patil will face-off with incumbent Education Minister Justine Greening on 8 June. Patil earlier served as the Mayor in the London Borough of Lambeth from 2010 to 2012, and is the first Asian person to do so.

Hailing from Gulbarga in Karnataka, Patil has reportedly served in 41 hospitals in over 15 years at the National Health Services.

Navendu Mishra

(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10158754096010724&amp;set=a.10150306323715724.546965.805990723&amp;type=3&amp;theater">NavenduMishra</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/NavenduMishra)

Making his political debut with these elections, Navendu Mishra is the Labour party candidate from Hazel Grove, Great Manchester. He joined the Labour party in 2010 for the general elections, and has been an active member since, serving as the youth officer for his constituency.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Mishra said:

I served as the election agent for the Hazel Grove Labour party in 2015 and learnt a lot about the political process. I have lived in Hazel Grove for many years. In addition, I am a known Labour activist in our constituency as well as Greater Manchester and the wider North West region.
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Sujata Barot

(Photo: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Sujata4LeicesterEast">Sujata4LeicesterEast</a>
(Photo: Facebook/Sujata4LeicesterEast

Sujata Barot is an independent candidate who is fighting the elections from Leicester East against incumbent MP Keith Vaz.

Sujata has been an active member of her neighbourhood community group, and has voiced her support for Brexit on a crowfunding site where she is raising money to fight the election against Vaz.

I know how important immigration is to all sections of our community and will work hard to make sure that the Brexit negotiations impact positively on our local economy, businesses, urban regeneration, arts and culture, and affordable housing and transport links for all.
Barot’s bio on the site

So far, the 1.2 million strong Indian diaspora have been largely loyal voters of the Labour party. However, the 2015 elections saw a big wave towards the David Cameron-led Conservative government.

The 8 June election will most likely see as much as 10-12 MPs of Indian-origin come into power.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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