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Roving Periscope: Sunak loses power, but more PIO MPs elected in the UK

Roving Periscope: Sunak loses power, but more PIO MPs elected in the UK

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: Although Rishi Sunak won his parliamentary seat and is now a former British Prime Minister, a record 29 People of Indian origin (PIO), including 12 new faces, have been elected this time as Members of Parliament (MPs) in the just-concluded snap polls in the United Kingdom, the media reported on Saturday.

Labour is now the political favorite among the PIOs, who have elected 19 MPs from the new ruling party which has dislodged Conservatives after 14 years.

Among the notable Labor MPs of Indian origin are Lisa Nandy, Nadia Whittome, Navendu Mishra, Preet Gill, Valerie Vaz, and Seema Malhotra, who all comfortably secured their respective parliamentary seats.

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi retained Slough although with a diminished majority, while Thangam Debbonaire conceded Bristol Central to the Green Party, underscoring intense competition even in traditionally Labour-dominated areas.

The Conservative Party added two new PIO MPs, while key leaders winning their seats included former PM Rishi Sunak, former Secretaries Priti Patel and Suella Braverman, and Claire Coutinho, and Gagan Mohindra who successfully defended their seats.

Despite these victories, setbacks like Shailesh Vara’s loss in North West Cambridgeshire and Ranil Jayawardena’s defeat in Hampshire North East to the Liberal Democrats highlighted how closely these contests were in Conservative-held constituencies.

Two key figures–Alok Sharma and Virendra Sharma—did not seek re-election, which affected their voters in the constituencies of Reading West and Ealing Southall, respectively. Deirdre Costigan won Ealing Southall decisively for the Labour Party.

None of the 13 candidates whom minor outfits, like the Green Party and Reform UK fielded, could secure their seats. Independent candidates such as Iqbal Mohamed and Shockat Adam tasted success, highlighting the varied political aspirations within the PIO community.

The 2024 elections have established a new benchmark for PIO representation in British politics. Labour’s strong performance underscores evolving political dynamics and increasing community influence. The diverse group of PIO MPs now serving in the UK Parliament represents a significant stride towards greater diversity and inclusivity in parliamentary positions, the report stated.


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