British Indian values align a lot with Conservative principles

British Indian values align a lot with Conservative principles

With deep roots in the community and a background in politics and education, Ashvir Sangha – the Conservative Party candidate for Birmingham Edgbaston – is determined to address key issues like crime, council bankruptcy, and the need for proactive local representation. In this exclusive interview with iGlobal about his election campaign, he shared his vision is to bring a fresh, locally focused approach to politics.

Q

What are the main concerns you have identified for Birmingham Edgbaston?

A

I'm running to be the new MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, a historic constituency currently held by Labour MP Preet Gill. It’s an interesting contest as we are both Sikh and grew up in the area. The big issues I've noticed are crime, the bankruptcy of Birmingham City Council, and the need for a visible, accessible MP. The local West Midlands Police are under special measures, and there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the Labour Police and Crime Commissioner with a lot of people wanting to see that being tackled more effectively.

The council's financial troubles, including a billion-pound deficit and an issue with the Oracle IT system costing approximately £100 million, have led to a 21% council tax increase, which worries residents about potential cuts to services. People also want an MP who is more locally focused and proactive, which I aim to be.

There's an appetite out there for a new generation of leaders that are doing things differently. A lot of people are saying to me that they don't necessarily like the old politics of someone who is very party-line and interested in climbing the ladder in London and seeking high office.

Q

Do you believe the Conservative Party aligns with the aspirations of British Indians?

A

If I look at my own background, for example, I'm the grandson of Sikh farmers from Punjab. Earlier, in the previous generations, the Indian community did identify and had a closeness with the Labour Party. Groups like the Indian Workers Association also brought them closely into the orbit of the Labour Party.

However, speaking to people from the community, including my own family, I can see that values like freedom, tradition, family importance, education, wanting to see your children do well or wanting to be able to keep a good amount of your hard-earned income to support yourself align a lot with Conservative principles.

Q

Why did you choose the Conservative Party?

A

For me, it's about wanting to do well my hometown and make my hometown the best it can be. That's what drew me to this role. My journey into politics was influenced by my independent mindset and local focus. I emphasise my local roots, promising to be more present in Birmingham than in Parliament.

Working with Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, was very much my apprenticeship in politics. His leadership style drew me to the Conservative Party, and I see myself continuing in that vein as a locally focused, proactive MP.

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Q

What motivated you to run for MP and how does your own heritage influence that?

A

I've always been interested in politics, studying history and politics at university and serving as President of the Oxford Union. My passion for education and community work, both in the UK and abroad, has driven me. I decided to run because I believe I can make a positive impact and bring a more rooted, modern approach to politics. My work with Andy Street solidified my decision.

My family hails from Punjab, with both sides originally from Lahore before moving to India after partition. My grandparents settled in England in the '50s, working in factories. They worked very hard. They were eight guys, four beds, one room. Four would do the night shift in the factory, four would do the day shift in the factory. Eventually, they saved up money and brought their wives and children here.

Later, after my parents got married and had children, they eventually moved to Birmingham, where I grew up. My heritage as a British Sikh from Birmingham shapes my identity and informs my commitment to serve my community.

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Q

Your message for voters…

A

I feel fortunate to have the opportunities provided by my family's hard work. I'm able to run because of what previous generations have achieved. There’s now a strong demand for a fresh approach to politics and as a local MP that’s what I hope to bring – traditional yet fresh, focusing on making tangible improvements in Birmingham. I'm eager to serve my hometown and meet the strong demand for a new approach to politics.

iGlobal News
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