Pakistani-origin MPs draw level with Indians in UK polls

  • PTI, London
  • Updated: May 09, 2015 08:28 IST

Pakistani-origin MPs have improved their tally in Britain's House of Commons after the just-concluded general election with a total of 10 elected candidates, drawing level with their Indian colleagues.

The Commons' charge was led by British-Pakistani Sajid Javid, the Conservative party's first Muslim cabinet minister, who served as culture, media and sports secretary in Prime Minister David Cameron's first Cabinet.

Javid, whose father arrived from rural Pakistan in the 1960s and worked as a bus conductor and driver in the UK, was re-elected as Bromsgrove MP with huge 28,133 votes.

"Voters have supported the Conservatives as they did not want to see the economic recovery put at risk," he said after his win.

Other Conservatives from Pakistan to make a mark include Rehman Chisti from Gillingham & Rainham and Nurat Ghani from Wealden.

However, it is the Opposition Labour which has scored the most wins – Yasmin Qureshi from Bolton South East, Shabana Mahmood from Birmingham Ladywood, Khalid Mahmood from Birmingham Perry Bar, Imran Hussain from Bradford East, Sadiq Khan from Tooting and Naseem Shah who caused one of the biggest upsets of election night by defeating favourite-to-win Respect Party MP George Galloway in Bradford West.

There was also a Scottish Pakistani who joined in the Scottish National Party's overall success, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh from Ochil & South Perthshire in Scotland.

Indian-origin candidates included Rishi Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, and other first-timers like Suella Fernandes (Conservative) from Fareham and Lisa Nandy from Wigan from the Labour party.

"I have impossible boots to fill," said Sunak, in reference to taking over from UK foreign secretary William Hague in his old Richmond Yorks stronghold.

Labour's brother-sister duo of Keith and Valerie Vaz returned as MPs with strong majorities and other Labour winners included Virendra Sharma and Seema Malhotra.

"I must thank the people of Leicester East. I have served them for 27 years and they have given me the huge privilege of an extension of another five," said Keith Vaz, among the longest-serving Indian-origin MPs in Britain.

For the Tories, Priti Patel, Alok Sharma and Shailesh Vara held firm in their respective constituencies of Witham, Reading West and North West Cambridgeshire.

The surprise loser was Paul Uppal for the Conservatives from Wolverhampton and the not-so-surprising defeat was that of Northern Ireland's first Sikh candidate Amandeep Singh Bhogal.

For British-Bangladeshis, it was mostly a Labour party sweep with Rushanara Ali holding on to her Bethnal Green & Bow seat and first-timer Rupa Huq won by a close margin in Ealing Central & Acton.

Another first-time MP, Tulip Siddiq, who is the granddaughter of Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, made history in Hampstead & Kilburn.

To complete the picture for MPs with origins in the subcontinent, Sri Lankan-born Ranil Jayawardena won for the Conservatives from Hampshire North East.

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