Labour’s anti-India problem just keeps getting worse
The lack of Indian-origin representatives in the coming election has not done much to pacify the anti-India allegations aimed at the Labour Party.
The December 12 General Election campaign is now in full swing. The stark reality that emerges from the candidate tally is that the Parliament elected next month will still be far from reflective of modern Britain.
The 2017 election had marked a hike in the Labour Party’s number of Indian-origin MPs from five to seven. With the Conservatives retaining their five Indian-heritage MPs, the total went up to 12. It was reasonable to expect further progress given that the Indian diaspora is among the UK’s largest ethnic minority group. But with the nominations now closed, it would indicate a status quo for British Indians in the new House of Commons.
It bodes much worse for Labour, already battling allegations of an anti-India stance over Kashmir. Its own diaspora group, the Labour Friends of India, issued a harsh rebuke of the lack of a representative proportion of Indian-heritage candidates. Labour’s only new Indian-heritage MP is likely to be Nav Mishra, who is contesting from a safe seat of Stockport. And, as Sundip Meghani noted, overlooking him for Keith Vaz’s Leicester East constituency – with one of the highest Indian demographics in the UK – was a “slap in the face of the Indian community”. To add insult to injury, the candidate selected is the one who chaired the conference session which passed the controversial motion on Kashmir.
Party Chair Ian Lavery’s intervention to stress that Labour would not “adopt any anti-India or anti-Pakistan position over Kashmir” has failed to heal the wounds because Labour’s actions have once again fallen short.