Britain today got its first female Sikh and first turban-wearing MPs as the general election results began pouring in with Indian-origin Labour Party candidates winning more seats than their rival Conservatives. Labour Party candidate Preet Kaur Gill won her Birmingham Edgbaston seat by polling 24,124 votes, defeating ruling Conservative party rival Caroline Squire by 6,917 votes.
“I am delighted I have been given the opportunity to become the next MP for Edgbaston where I was born and raised. I want to engage with the people of Edgbaston and with hard work, passion and determination I think we can achieve great things together,” she said. Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, known as Tan, won his Slough seat decisively polling 34,170 votes, to become Labour’s first turban-wearing MP. He defeated his Conservative party rival by a whopping 16,998 votes. Dhesi said he was “humbled” and wanted to serve the town where he was born and raised.
“Credit to the Labour Party leadership for taking the bold step of giving Sikhs the opportunity to fight for winnable seats. Labour now needs to turn its attention to having visible Sikh representation in the House of Lords at the first opportunity so Sikhs are better represented and can bring fresh thinking and ideas,” Sikh Federation UK said in a statement.
“Although it is early in terms of results declared this appears to be a disastrous night for the Conservatives and Theresa May given what she had hoped to achieve and a good night for the Labour Party. Labour is taking some important Conservative scalps,” it added. A second turban-wearing Sikh of the Labour Party Kuldip Sahota lost out to his Conservative rival by just 720 votes.
Among some of the other Indian-origin contestants’ results declared so far, Conservative party’s Priti Patel has held on to her stronghold of Witham in Essex with a solid majority of 18,646 votes. Alok Sharma has held on to Reading West by 2,876 votes and Shailesh Vara has won in Cambridgeshire North West by 18,008 votes. The 2015 general election first-timers for the Tories Rishi Sunak and Suella Fernandes have also held on to their seats decisively with a margin of 23,108 and 21,555 votes respectively.