Indian summer in UK's House of Commons

For a country where the migrant population is slated to overtake that of White natives in the next few decades (by 2066, according to some studies), the 2015 general elections in the United Kingdom witnessed more Black, Asian and minority candidates than ever before.

So even as celebrations broke out with the decisive victory of the Conservatives, their first majority since 1992, there were widespread celebrations among the Indian diaspora, with as many as 10 Indian-origin candidates making their way to the House of Commons, including Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy's son-in-law Rishi Sunak.

An equal number of Pakistani-origin MPs emerged winners, followed by three women of Bangladeshi origin, including Tulip Siddiq, present Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina's niece and grand-daughter of Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

An ecstatic Murthy in a statement congratulated his son-in-law Rishi Sunak, who won on a Conservative ticket from Richmond, considered a "safe seat" in Yorkshire. "I am very happy that Rishi has won convincingly in Richmond - Yorks with such a majority. He and Akshata worked very hard, beat the pavement and communicated his merit, integrity and his vision for his constituency," said Murthy. "He has big shoes to fill since he is succeeding William Hague. I am positive that he will do well as an MP."

Sunak, a first-time MP, is married to Murthy's daughter Akshata, his batch-mate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His father served with the NHS (National Health Service) as a family general practitioner and his mother ran her own chemist shop.

According to British news media, Indians account for the majority of the four million foreign-born voters in Britain, followed closely by Pakistanis, Irish and Bangladeshis. According to news agency IANS, there were over 50 Indian-origin candidates in the fray. The successful ones include long-serving Labour MPs Keith Vaz (Leicester East) and Virendra Sharma (Ealing Southall). Keith Vaz's sister Valerie Vaz retained her Walsall South seat, Seema Malhotra won from Feltham & Heston.

For the ruling Conservatives, British Prime Minister David Cameron's 'Indian diaspora' champion Priti Patel won from Witham, junior minister Alok Sharma won from Reading West and Shailesh Vara from Cambridgeshire North West. Vara has been an MP since 2005. Two other successful candidates include (half Indian, half English) Lisa Nandy from Wigan, and Sajid Javid, whose father is Indian and mother Pakistani.

Foremost among those of Pakistani origin who won was secretary of state for culture, media & sport in the outgoing government Sajid Javid. Interestingly Javid is being proudly claimed by both the Indian and the Pakistani community "as one of their own". Other victorious candidates include Shabana Mahmood (Birmingham Ladywood), Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr), Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East), Imran Hussain (Bradford East), Rehman Chishti (Gillingham & Rainham), Nusrat Ghani (Wealden), Naseem Shah (Bradford West), Sadiq Khan (Tooting) and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil & South Perthshire).

With political dynasties a common feature in the sub-continent, Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's grand-daughter Tulip Siddiq's debut as a

British MP is significant. The two other successful Bangladeshi-origin MPs are Rushanara Ali, the first British lawmaker of Bangladeshi origin who was re-elected as MP from Bethnal Green and Bow, and Rupa Huq from Ealing Central & Acton. All three are women from the Labour party.

Of the two significant Sri Lankan ethnic origin candidates who had a fighting chance, Ranil Jayawardena, a Conservative from Hampshire North East, and Uma Kumaran, a Sri Lankan Tamil of the Labour party from Harrow East, only Jayawardena made the cut.

According to a study 'Migrant Voters in the 2015 General Election' from the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity, University of Manchester, migrant voters had a decisive say in the outcome of elections in around 25 seats across England and Wales where they are a third of the electorate, and in around 50 seats where they are at least a quarter of the electorate.

It's little surprise that in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Britain, David Cameron has repeatedly gone on record during the election campaign as saying that he is confident that Britain's first Asian or Black PM will come from his Conservative party. The day might be closer than thought.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel