UK election: British-Bangladeshi candidates on the front foot

Aditi Khanna, London
Published : 23:29, Dec 10, 2019 | Updated : 23:31, Dec 10, 2019

The new Parliament set to be voted in at Thursday's (Dec 12) General Election is being pegged as the most diverse in Britain’s history, based on expert projections just hours before the campaign comes to a close.
(L-R) This September 2017 photo shows Tulip Siddiq, Rushanara Ali, and Rupa Huq. TWITTER/@rupahuqThe Bangladeshi representation in the House of Commons so far has been three-pronged with Tulip Siddiq, Rupa Huq and Rushanara Ali, all of whom are expected to be voted back from their Labour Party strongholds across three London constituencies. Another Labour candidate with roots in Bangladesh hoping to win a seat in the UK Parliament, Apsana Begum, has faced a tough contest over alleged antisemitic comments on social media.
From the ruling Conservative Party, British Bangladeshi doctor Anwara Ali is fighting to overturn a solid Labour majority in London's Harrow West constituency.
“The next Parliament looks set to be our most-diverse ever – with more ethnic minority candidates likely to be elected whichever way the political pendulum swings on election night,” says an analysis by the British Future think tank.
“Candidate selections have been very much a game of two halves – with a late surge in selections to replace retiring MPs and those who were standing down mitigating a decline in the proportion of non-white candidates selected in target seats,” it notes.
The ethnic minority surge in the number of MPs unveiled on Friday is expected to include the current three Bangladeshi-origin female MPs - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's niece Tulip Siddiq, and Rupa Huq, both of whom were first elected in 2015, and Rushanara Ali, first elected to the Commons in 2010.
PHOTO/“Depending on the results, it’s possible that one in 10 MPs will be from an ethnic minority background. That would be a first for our Parliament – just a decade ago that figure was one in 40,” says Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future.
Brexit has been the central issue in the current election campaign with the the issue of Britain's future relationship with the European Union (EU) likely to swing a number of key votes.
"I'll be fighting hard for Remain," says Siddiq, who is contesting from Hampstead and Kilburn in north-west London, a remain voting constituency.
Her fellow Bangladeshi MPs, Huq and Ali, have been equally vocal against Brexit and challenged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal as damaging for the UK economy.