"The next Parliament looks set to be our most-diverse ever"
The UK General Election 2019 takes place on December 12 and it looks to be massive, especially since it is the first general election to be held in December since 1923.
The Conservative’s Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister, however, that could change following the election. The election was announced when the House of Commons passed the Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019.
One of the main aspects of the upcoming election is the topic of Brexit, which was meant to have been resolved on October 31, 2019.
The main parties have differing stances on the subject.
The Conservatives support leaving under the terms of the withdrawal agreement which were negotiated by Mr Johnson.
A “no-deal Brexit” is preferred by the Brexit Party with their leader Nigel Farage calling for Johnson to drop the deal.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party would renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.
Political parties like the Liberal Democrats and Green Party are against Brexit.
The NHS is also a subject of interest with the Conservatives proposing increased spending, however, it is not as much of an increase as the proposals made by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
It is expected that the new Parliament will be the most diverse in Britain’s history due to a surge in British Asian candidates.
There are over 30 candidates from a South Asian background in both the Labour and Conservative parties.
Analysis by think tank British Future stated:
“The next Parliament looks set to be our most-diverse ever with more ethnic minority candidates likely to be elected whichever way the political pendulum swings on election night.
“Candidate selections have been very much a game of two halves with a late surge in selections to replace retiring MPs and those who were standing down mitigating a decline in the proportion of non-white candidates selected in target seats.”
With a wide array of candidates, we take a look at the Asian candidates standing in the 2019 UK General Election.
Virendra Sharma – Ealing, Southall
Virendra Sharma represents Ealing, Southall and has been an MP for the constituency since 2007.
The 72-year-old was born in India but studied in England at the London School of Economics on a trade union scholarship.
Although he will be standing at the 2019 UK General Election, he had lost a vote of no-confidence.
His opponents cited low attendance at party meetings, slow response to constituents communications and unwillingness to campaign against toxic emissions from the Old Gasworks site.
Shabana Mahmood – Birmingham, Ladywood
Shabana Mahmood was among the first women of Pakistani origin in UK Parliament. She has been the MP for Birmingham, Ladywood since 2010.
While she is a Labour Party politician, Shabana is also a qualified barrister, having graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford.
She had been the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury but stepped down in September 2015.
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi – Slough
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi has been the MP for Slough since 2017.
The politician hit headlines in September 2019 when he gave a passionate speech, criticising Prime Minister Boris Johnson for allegedly making racist comments.
Mr Dhesi explained that they had caused a spike in hate crime and urged the PM to apologise. The condemnation led to applause in the House of Commons.
Naz Shah – Bradford West
Naz Shah will be standing for Bradford West, after having been elected as an MP in the 2015 UK General Election.
During the election, she defeated former leader George Galloway with a majority of over 11,000.
Naz has had the backing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who issued a statement, appealing for citizens in Bradford West to vote for her.
Valerie Vaz – Walsall South
Valerie Vaz has been an MP for Walsall South since the 2010 UK General Election.
She had been elected for a third time in 2017, winning by a majority of over 8,800.
Although Mrs Vaz has her own successful career as a politician, she is known for being the sister of shamed MP Keith Vaz.
Nadia Whittome – Nottingham East
Nadia Whittome may be one of the youngest standing candidates but she is one of the most determined.
The 23-year-old former University of Nottingham student used to be a care worker before becoming an activist.
Nadia has led several campaigns both locally and nationally. She was known for being part of the campaign to bring the living wage to workers on campus. Nadia also organised the first Deliveroo riders strike in Nottingham.
The other Labour candidates are:
- Nurul Hoque Ali – Aberdeen North
- Marina Ahmad – Beckenham
- Mohammad Yasin – Bedford
- Rushanara Ali – Bethnal Green and Bow
- Preet Gill – Birmingham, Edgbaston (Labour and Co-operative Party)
- Tahir Ali – Birmingham, Hall Green
- Khalid Mahmood – Birmingham, Perry Barr
- Yasmin Qureshi – Bolton South East
- Imran Hussain – Bradford East
- Majid Khan – Brigg and Goole
- Suria Aujla – Bristol West
- Ahmad Nawaz Wattoo – Carshalton and Wallington
- Zahid Chauhan – Cheadle
- Faiza Shaheen – Chingford and Woodford Green
- Zarah Sultana – Coventry South
- Rupa Huq – Ealing Central and Acton
- Safia Ali – Falkirk
- Seema Malhotra – Feltham and Heston (Labour and Co-operative Party)
- Tulip Siddiq – Hampstead and Kilburn
- Nabila Ahmed – Hemel Hempstead
- Zaid Yaqoob Marham – Henley
- Kuldip Sahota – Ludlow
- Afzal Khan – Manchester, Gorton
- Azhar Ali – Pendle
- Apsana Begum – Poplar and Limehouse
- Ali Aklakul – South West Hertfordshire
- Pavitar Kaur Mann – Spelthorne
- Nav Mishra – Stockport
- Brahma Mohanty – Surrey Heath
- Rosena Allin-Khan – Tooting
- Ranjeev Walia – Twickenham
- Faisal Rashid – Warrington South
- Khalil Ahmed – Wycombe
Raaj Shamji – Birmingham, Perry Barr
Raaj Shamji will stand as a Conservative candidate for Birmingham, Perry Barr. He was a student at Birmingham City University when the campus was at Perry Barr.
As well as his role in politics, he also works for his old university as a senior development manager.
Mr Shamji was active in student politics and later volunteered for ‘Vote Leave’.
Priti Patel – Witham
Priti Patel has been the MP for Witham since 2010 but she is one of the most important figures in Boris Johnson’s government as she also serves as Home Secretary.
As a result of her Home Secretary appointment, she became the first ethnic minority woman to hold the position.
Priti had been the Secretary of State for International Development during Theresa May’s reign as Prime Minister but resigned after she was involved in a political scandal.
Sajid Javid – Bromsgrove
Sajid Javid will be defending his Bromsgrove constituency for the third time.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer and former Home Secretary is a prominent figure within UK politics.
He had launched a bid to become the Conservative leader, promising to deliver Brexit. Javid went on to back Boris Johnson after he was eliminated.
Anjana Patel – Brent North
Anjana Patel uses her political influence to work with the community in order to improve things.
She had served as Portfolio Holder for Community and Culture Services, and Schools and Children’s Development from 2006 to 2010.
Anjana is also an executive member of various charity organisations. She states that she wants to enhance the experience of being a Harrow resident.
Bhupen Dave – Leicester East
Bhupen Dave was born in Uganda but is of Gujarati origin. After becoming interested in social mechanisms while at university, he sought a political career.
Mr Dave went on to become a director of Social Service at Leicester City Council. He also was elected councillor in the County Council.
He eventually became the first Asian Deputy leader of Leicester City Council.
Rehman Chishti – Gillingham and Rainham
Rehman Chishti will be defending his Gillingham and Rainham constituency for the third time.
He was elected in 2010 and became the youngest MP of Pakistani descent at the age of 31.
Not only does he have UK political experience but he has also worked abroad in politics. Rehman was formerly an advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The other Conservative candidates are:
- Sanjoy Sen – Alyn and Deeside
- Tamkeen Akhterrasul Shaikh – Barking (Conservative and Unionist Party)
- Iftikhar Ahmed – Barnsley Central
- Akaal Sidhu – Birmingham, Hodge Hill
- Narinder Singh Sekhon – Bradford South
- Mohammed Afzal – Bradford West
- Mohamed Ali – Cardiff North
- Pam Gosal-Bains – East Dunbartonshire
- Kashif Ali – Halifax
- Anwara Ali – Harrow West
- Ali Azeem – Ilford South
- Haroun Malik – Inverclyde
- Amjad Bashir – Leeds North East
- Jeet Bains – Luton North
- Parvez Akhtar – Luton South
- Ranil Jayawardena – North East Hampshire
- Shailesh Vara – North West Cambridgeshire
- Alok Sharma – Reading West
- Rishi Sunak – Richmond (Yorks)
- Atifa Shah – Rochdale
- Attika Choudhary – Salford and Eccles
- Wazz Mughal – Sefton Central
- Tayub Amjad – Stalybridge and Hyde
- Mussadak Mirza – Stretford and Urmston
- Imran Nasir Ahmad-Khan – Wakefield
- Gurjit Kaur Bains – Walsall South
- Chandra Mohan Kanneganti – Warley
- Nus Ghani – Wealden
- Sara Kumar – West Ham
- Ahmed Ejaz – Wolverhampton South East
Tariq Mahmood – Ealing, Southall
Dr Tariq Mahmood has had a long association with Ealing, Southall.
He is working with 2020 Mayor of London candidate Siobhan Benita to fight for the area which he believes has been neglected by Conservative and Labour governments.
Tariq, who is an NHS consultant, is against Brexit as he feels that it will damage the future for generations to come.
Hina Malik – Feltham and Heston
Hina Malik is contesting Feltham and Heston but she is also the first acclaimed Pakistani female aeronautical engineer.
She has also worked for both the Civil Aviation Authority and British Airways.
Although Hina is standing for Feltham and Huston, she previously stood as a candidate in a local council by-election in Hounslow.
Rana Das Gupta – Rugby
Rana Das Gupta is a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon in Warwickshire.
As a result, he has a strong interest in the local NHS. Rana also believes in reduced business rates and corporation tax as well as increased community policing.
The politician strongly believes that the UK has always been respected and stable because of the party’s central focused politics.
Rajin Chowdhury – Sheffield South East
Dr Rajin Chowdhury has lived and worked in Sheffield for the last 15 years after moving there for university.
While he has worked in operating theatres, he has always had an interest in politics.
Dr Chowdhury joined the Liberal Democrats in 2015 after seeing that they were willing to sacrifice votes to keep the UK stable after the recession.
Meera Chadha – Walthamstow
Meera Chadha is contesting Walthamstow and her passion lies in addressing social inequality and climate change.
She has worked in the non-profit sector for almost 10 years.
During those years, she has helped numerous organisations grow nationally, ranging from a charity reducing knife crime to a social enterprise offering high-quality affordable childcare.
Waheed Rafiq – Birmingham, Hodge Hill
Waheed Rafiq is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Birmingham, Hodge Hill.
However, his position remains unclear after he was suspended from the party for making anti-Semitic comments on social media.
The posts from 2010 to 2014 were “clearly and unambiguously anti-Semitic”.
The other Liberal Democrats candidates are:
- Humaira Ali – Bermondsey and Old Southwark
- Javed Bashir – Calder Valley
- Khalil Yousuf – Crawley
- Sonul Badiani-Hamment – Ealing Central and Acton
- Anita Prabhakar – Gedling
- Harrish Bisnauthsing – Grantham and Stamford
- Zuffar Haq – Harborough
- Kamran Hussain – Leeds North West
- Nitesh Dave – Leicester East
- Aisha Mir – Milton Keynes North
- Saleyha Ahsan – Milton Keynes South
- Kishan Devani – Montgomeryshire
- Aaron Chahal – Slough
- Hina Bokhari – Sutton and Cheam
- Shazu Miah – Wyre Forest
Kulvinder Manik – Bradford South
Dr Kulvinder Manik is an NHS doctor who had no aspirations to enter politics, however, he joined the Brexit Party, advocating for a disadvantaged majority.
He explained: “I voted remain in 2016. It was my 14-year-old’s wish.
“Two years later that same child was despondent and feared for our democracy.”
“In 2019, in somewhat of a shock at how the mainstream uni-political parliament was at once sabotaging our democracy, sovereignty and constitution by ignoring the referendum settlement I donated to the one party who would be sure to deliver the referendum mandate (the clue was in the name): The Brexit Party.”
Surjit Singh Duhre – Doncaster Central
Prior to any announcement of a UK General Election, Surjit Singh Duhre was chosen to stand for Doncaster Central in case there was one.
However, his campaign has not gone smoothly as he was run off the road while out in Doncaster on December 6, 2019.
The incident came just days after left-wing activists reportedly sent Mr Singh Duhre death threats.
Parag Shah – Enfield, Southgate
Parag Shah stands for Enfield, Southgate and he and the Brexit Party are committed to delivering a smooth Brexit as well as changing politics for the better.
He believes that the current MPs in Parliament are tragic and lacking in honour.
Mr Shah feels that the Brexit Party will solve all the concerns people have over local healthcare, crime, schooling, traffic, social and housing needs in the constituency.
Kailash Trivedi – Greenwich and Woolwich
Kailash Trivedi is the Brexit Party candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich.
He moved from India to study at Sunderland University in 2003 before moving to London.
Kailash opened his own pharmacy before selling it and moving into the world of politics.
Munish Sharma – Ilford South
Munish Sharma grew up in Ilford South and stated that he is “excited” to represent the constituency.
He worked in law which included EU banking laws for the UK and five years at JP Morgan.
Mr Sharma has said: “I am campaigning to genuinely leave the EU, so we can get on and review laws for smaller business and achieve closer trade relationships with countries outside the EU.
Waqas Ali Khan – Keighley
Waqas Ali Khan is self-employed and has previously worked in the retail and postal sectors.
In terms of politics, his interests lie in property renovations and redevelopments.
In the 2015 UK General Election, Mr Khan stood as a UKIP candidate for Shipley. He also stood as an independent in the Batley and Spen by-election in 2016.
The other Brexit Party candidates are:
- Samir Alsoodani – Ealing Central and Acton
- Alka Sehgal Cuthbert – East Ham
- Sachin Sehgal – Edmonton
- Harry Boparai – Hayes and Harlington
- Waj Ali – Hemsworth
- Zulf Jannaty – Leyton and Wanstead
- Sudhir Sharma – Luton North
- Tariq Mahmood – Stoke-on-Trent Central
- Viral Parikh – Sunderland Central
- Adam Shakir – Tooting
- Vishal Dilip Khatri – Wolverhampton North East
- Raj Singh Chaggar – Wolverhampton South East
Talia Hussain – Islington South and Finsbury
Talia Hussain joined the Green Party when living in Brighton and supported the local election campaign in 2015.
She went on to stand for council in Canonbury in 2018 local elections.
Talia believes that government economic policy must be reformed to disincentivise extractive and polluting activities while promoting a regenerative economic model.
Shahab Adris – Leeds East
Shahab Adris will represent the Green Party for Leeds East at the 2019 UK General Election.
He has pledged to create a positive future by using is expertise in human rights.
Mr Adris stated: “There are so many areas where we can make improvements, and as an MP I will work towards an education system which is creative and holistic for our young people.”
Pallavi Devulapalli – South West Norfolk
Pallavi Devulapalli is a doctor and lives in West Norfolk, where she works as a GP in King’s Lynn.
As a climate activist, Pallavi believes that the world is in the midst of unprecedented challenges due to runaway climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.
She feels that the need for a strong, socially just, green Europe has never been greater.
The other Green Party candidates are:
- Ty Akram – Batley and Spen
- Mohammad Shahrar Ali – Bethnal Green and Bow
- Reza Hossain – Blackburn
- Sherief Mamoun Hassan – Hemel Hempstead
- Suneil Basu – Weston-Super-Mare
Sushil Gaikwad – Greenwich and Woolwich
Sushil Gaikwad moved into politics after seeing the main parties and believing that they fight for their own interests.
He also felt that the behaviour of MPs has been appalling. Mr Gaikwad intends to be a voice for the people.
He stated: “I have no intention to be a run-of-the-mill MP; instead, I intend to become a future generation MP that fights only and only for the interest of people and the UK!”
Sanjay Prem Gogia – Leicester East
Sanjay Prem Gogia will be standing for Leicester East and is also a qualified lawyer.
He has also taught at the University of Cambridge and now teaches at University College London.
In terms of politics, Mr Gogia believes than an “honest and law-abiding citizen” should represent the constituency.
The other Independent candidates are:
- Iram Altaf Kiani – Altrincham and Sale West
- Rizwan Ali Shah – Blackburn
- Azfar Shah Bukhari – Bradford West
- Akil Kata – Cardiff Central
- Muhammad Yasin Rehman – Luton North
- Mohammed Ashraf – Luton South
- Navin Kumar – Rochford and Southend East
- Akheil Mehboob – Walsall South
- Bob Dhillon – Warwick and Leamington
- Jyoti Dialani – Bromley and Chislehurst
- Haseeb Ur-Rehman – Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Workers Revolutionary Party
- Hassan Zulkifal – Ealing, Southall
Communities United Party
- Kamran Malik – East Ham
Young People’s Party YPP
- Dr Rohen Kapur – Folkestone and Hythe
- Mohammad Ali Bhatti – Holborn and St Pancras
- Vijay Singh Srao – Wycombe
Communities United Party
- Humera Kamran – West Ham
With the UK General Election just days away, it looks to be one of the most diverse governments when the results are announced.
The vast amount of South Asian origin candidates highlights a multicultural society and that number will continue to increase as more people turn to a career in politics.
The UK General Election is also one of the most important with votes potentially having a massive effect on the future of the UK.