15 candidates of Pakistani descent elected to UK parliament

By: Atika Rehman

Published in Dawn, December 14, 2019

LONDON: A record number of British-Pakistanis are set to become Members of Parliament (MPs) after achieving success in their respective constituencies during the United Kingdom’s general election which witnessed a dramatic victory for the Boris Johnson-led Conservative party.

Although the Labour party performed poorly overall, with only 203 seats as compared to the Tory tally of 365, 10 of the seats were won by British-Pakistanis for Labour and just five for the Conservative party.

Successful candidates from Labour party were Naz Shah from Bradford, Khalid Mehmood from Birmingham, Yasmin Qureshi from South Bolton, Afzal Khan from Manchester Gorton, Tahir Ali from Birmingham Hall Green, Muhammad Yaseen from Bedford, Imran Hussain from Bradford East, Zarah Sultana from Coventry South, Shabana Mahmood from Birmingham Ladywood and Rozina Ali from Tooting.

From the Conservative party, the five successful candidates were Nusrat Ghani from Wealden, Imran Ahmed from Bedfordshire, Sajid Javid from Bromsgrove, Rehman Chishti from Gillingham and Saqib Bhatti from Meriden.

This election witnessed a significant surge in British-Pakistani candidates as compared to the polls in 2017. While the previous election saw 40 Pakistani-origin candidates, the latest vote saw 70 such candidates who were given tickets by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.

Some British-Pakistanis also ran as independent candidates. The breakdown of the candidates is as follows: 20 for Conservative, 19 for Labour, 12 for Lib Dems (they have never had a Pakistani-origin MP), five for Brexit Party, four for Green Party and 10 independents.

There are more than one million people in the UK of Pakistani ancestry, making it the second largest overseas Pakistani population after Saudi Arabia. The West Midlands is home to 172,000 people of Pakistani ancestry, more than any other British region.

There are an estimated 163,000 people of Pakistani ancestry in London, 163,000 in the Yorkshire area and 133,000 in the North West of England.

It is estimated that by 2031 there will be at least 2.63 million people of Pakistani ancestry in the UK.

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