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New Parliament could see rise in British Indian MPs after 2024 General Election

New Parliament could see rise in British Indian MPs after 2024 General Election
Courtesy: ‘Ethnic and gender diversity in the next parliament’, British Future

A record number of ethnic minority MPs, including British Indian members of Parliament, will be elected this, with an increase of at least 20 ethnic minority MPs taking seats in the House of Commons, according to an in-depth analysis of final candidate selections by the British Future think tank on the eve of the elections.

Analysis of census data by Matt Singh of Number Cruncher Politics estimates that 14 per cent of the UK electorate is from an ethnic minority background. With around 14 per cent of MPs coming from an ethnic minority background, the new Parliament will be closer than ever before to reflecting the diversity of the electorate.

It also means that regardless of the party-political result on July 5, the 2024 Parliament is set to be the UK’s most diverse ever. Minority representation will have increased from zero to nearly one in seven MPs during the lifetime of Rishi Sunak – the UK’s first British Indian Prime Minister.

Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future, said: “This election will see the biggest rise in ethnic minority representation and the most diverse Parliament ever. In the space of 40 years we’ll have gone from zero to 1 in 7 MPs being from an ethnic minority background.

“Britain is closing the gap between the diversity of Parliament and the electorate much faster than anyone thought possible.

“Better representation doesn’t in itself guarantee strong party cultures or the right party policies on inclusion. Our race debates today often feel as polarised as ever. But a stronger share of voice does make a difference. So this milestone in representation remains something to celebrate – few if any other western democracies are keeping pace with Britain’s progress.”

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The last general election in 2019 resulted in 15 MPs of Indian heritage crossing over the line, many of whom are contesting again alongside several first-timers. Conservative Party MP Alok Sharma and Labour veteran Virendra Sharma are among the prominent British Indians not seeking re-election this time, from Reading West and Ealing Southall respectively.

The Labour Party is set to have by far the largest number of ethnic minority MPs – projected to be 66 if the party wins an overall majority and up to 83 in a landslide scenario.

Jill Rutter, British Future Associate Fellow who led the analysis, said: “A diverse parliament brings different perspectives to its work, which can lead to more effective policy-making. MPs who come from different backgrounds can be role models for their communities, inspiring young people to vote and get involved in politics.”

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The 2024 General Election is set to be a “Big Change” election. There are guaranteed to be at least 158 new MPs sitting in the House of Commons due to large numbers of retirements. That could rise to 288 if the Labour Party wins a majority of 100 or up to 368 – more than half the Commons – in a landslide scenario. This would be the largest post-war new intake to Parliament, potentially outstripping the 324 new MPs elected in 1945.

*Info: ‘Ethnic and gender diversity in the next parliament’

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