There will be a record number of ethnic minority MPs in the new House of Commons – with 52 non-white parliamentarians elected compared to 41 in the last Parliament. Thirty years on, that tells a positive story about integration since the breakthrough election of 1987, writes Sunder Katwala.
Most of the new minority MPs will sit on the Labour benches. The Conservative Party had hoped to step up on minority representation and perhaps even overtake Labour if early polls had proved correct and the party made significant electoral gains. Instead, Labour is again well ahead with the Conservatives left behind, after a disappointing night for Theresa May and a failure to select enough BME candidates.
After the success of the Conservative campaign group Women2Win in addressing gender balance, there are now calls from within the Tory party for similar structures to ensure a strong supply of minority candidates in the future.
Of the 52 non-white MPs in the new 2017 parliament, 32 will sit on the Labour benches out of a total of 261 Labour MPs (12%); while 19 are Conservatives, out of 315 (6%). The Liberal Democrats will have one ethnic minority MP out of a total of 12 MPs (8%).
That MP is Layla Moran in Oxford West and Abingdon, who overturned a Conservative majority of nearly 10,000 to take the university seat. A physics teacher, she is mixed race: her mother is a Christian Palestinian from Jerusalem, making her among the first British MPs with Arab roots. Moran is one of twelve new ‘Class of 2017’ ethnic minority MPs, alongside nine for Labour and two Conservatives. They are:
Eleanor Smith (Labour, Wolverhampton South-West); Preet Gill, Britain’s first ever female Sikh MP (Labour, Birmingham Edgbaston); Tan Dhesi (Labour, Slough); Mohammad Yasin (Labour, Bedford); Marsha de Cordova (Labour, Battersea); Fiona Onasanya (Labour, Peterborough); Faisal Rashid (Labour, Warrington South); Bambos Charalambos (Labour, Enfield Southgate); Manchester’s first Muslim MP Afzal Khan (Labour, Machester Gorton); Kemi Badenoch (Conservative, Saffron Walden) and Bim Alofami (Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden) .
Of the 41 ethnic minority MPs who stood again in this General Election, 40 were re-elected, 23 for Labour and 17 for the Conservatives. The SNP’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh was defeated in Ochil and South Perthshire, leaving Scotland without any ethnic minority MPs in the new Parliament. Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn, and Rupa Huq in Ealing Central and Acton successfully defended very small majorities at the top of the target list
The election of Labour’s Tan Dhesi in Slough along with Preet Gill in Edgbaston means there will be two Sikh MPs in the new House of Commons, ending the absence of Sikh MPs from the last Parliament.
The full list of ethnic minority MPs is:
Tulip Siddiq, Rupa Huq, Dawn Butler, Diane Abbott, David Lammy, Mark Hendrick, Vireda Sharma, Rushnara Ali, Shabana Mahmood, Lisa Nandy, Chuka Ummuna, Chi Onwurah, Yasmin Qureshi, Keith Vaz, Khalid Mahmood, Seema Malhotra, Kate Osamor, Naz Shah, Valerie Vaz, Clive Lewis, Imran Hussain, Thangnam Debbonaire, Rosena Allin-Khan, Eleanor Smith, Preet Gill, Tan Dhesi, Afzal Khan, Mohammad Yasin, Marsha de Cordova, Fiona Onasanya, Faisal Rashid, Bambos Charalambos.
Adam Afriye, Shailesh Vara, Nadim Zahawi, Sam Gyimah, Priti Patel, Sajid Javid, Kwasi Kwarteng, Helen Grant, Rehman Chisti, Ranil Jayawardena, Nusrat Ghani, Suella Fernandes, Rishi Sunak, James Cleverly, Alan Mak, Alok Sharma, Seema Kennedy, Kemi Badenoch, Bim Alofami.