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New Cabinet minister Lisa Nandy leads record British Indian MPs in Commons

Picture by Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street
Picture by Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street

Lisa Nandy has been appointed the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer as the House of Commons will welcome a record number of British Indian MPs.

Nandy, the daughter of India-born academic Dipak Nandy, was re-elected with a strong majority from her Wigan constituency in Greater Manchester. She now becomes not only a member of one of British history’s Cabinets with the most women around the top table but also the most diverse, including 29 MPs of Indian heritage.

Reflective of the party’s landslide victory in last week’s general elections, the biggest winners from the Labour Party – with veterans such as Seema Malhotra holding her Feltham and Heston constituency and Valerie Vaz winning in Walsall and Bloxwich.

Preet Kaur Gill defeated Tory first-timer Ashvir Sangha in Birmingham Edgbaston and Tan Dhesi won comfortably in Slough. Navendu Mishra (Stockport) and Nadia Whittome (Nottingham East) were among the other Labour MPs re-elected with convincing majorities.

However, it is the long list party’s newcomers that reflects the truly diverse image of the new Parliament, including Kanishka Narayan’s win in Vale of Glamorgan making him the first-ever British Indian MP to represent Wales in the Westminster Parliament.

Others set to take their seats on the Labour benches in the House of Commons include Jas Athwal (Ilford South), Baggy Shanker (Derby South), Satvir Kaur (Southampton Test), Harpreet Uppal (Huddersfield), Warinder Juss (Wolverhampton West), Gurinder Josan (Smethwick), Sonia Kumar (Dudley), Sureena Brackenbridge (Wolverhampton North East), Kirith Entwistle (Bolton North East), Jeevun Sandher (Loughborough) and Sojan Joseph (Ashford).

For the Liberal Democrats, who had a good election all round winning 71 seats, Munira Wilson won back her Twickenham constituency.

Two Independent candidates with ancestral roots in India, Shockat Adam Patel (Leicester South) and Iqbal Mohamed (Dewsbury and Batley) also registered decisive wins and upsets for the main parties in their constituencies.

For the defeated Conservatives, Britain’s first prime minister of Indian heritage convincingly held on to his Richmond and Northallerton seat in North Yorkshire and promised his constituents to continue to work hard for them.

In his acceptance speech, Rishi Sunak said: “On this difficult night I would like to express my gratitude to the people of the Richmond and Northallerton constituency for your continued support. Since I have moved here a decade ago, you have made me and my family feel so at home and I look forward to serving you for years to come.”

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Picture by Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street
My party recognises & supports contributions of British Indian community

Other prominent British Indian Tories holding on to their seats despite a disastrous night for the party included former home secretaries Suella Braverman (Fareham and Waterlooville) and Priti Patel (Witham), as did Sunak’s Cabinet ally Claire Coutinho (East Surrey) and Gagan Mohindra (South West Hertfordshire).

Among the new faces on the Tory benches will be Shivani Raja, registering a gain for the party in the keenly watched constituency of Leicester East where she was contesting against fellow Indian-origin Labour candidate Rajesh Agrawal. Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst, a former surgeon and barrister, won from Solihull West & Shirley with a promise of being a “dedicated, hardworking and accountable” Tory MP.

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