Time for another chapter: Veteran British Indian MP Virendra Sharma to not seek re-election

Time for another chapter: Veteran British Indian MP Virendra Sharma to not seek re-election

One of the Labour Party’s most well-known British Indian MPs, Virendra Sharma, has announced his decision to not seek re-election in the General Election on July 4.

Sharma, 77, who has won five elections since a by-election win in 2007 from the diverse Ealing Southall constituency, said it was time for a new chapter in his life. Born in Mandhali village of Punjab in India, the veteran parliamentarian moved to the UK in 1968 and worked his way up from a bus conductor before going on to study at the London School of Economics (LSE) on a Trade Union Scholarship.

In his resignation letter, Sharma said: “As a British Indian and as a Hindu, as a Labour Member, Councillor and MP I have never struggled to reconcile those different, but complementary, identities.

“Over nearly 50 years I have served the party in one form or another. Now I believe the time has come for another chapter to begin. I want to let you know that I will not be standing at the next election.

“This does not dim my desire for Labour to win, and win I am sure we will. I will continue to support Labour, and I hope to continue to be part of the Labour project, but not from inside the House of Commons.”

Sharma, who chairs the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and co-chairs the British Hindus APPG, has always championed closer India-UK relations over the years. Now as he heads towards retirement, the grandfather of three hailed the “constant unstinting support” of his wife Nirmala over the course of the years and pledged to continue “pounding the streets” ahead of “Labour’s entry into Downing Street” with party leader Keir Starmer.

“It is clear to me that the country is crying out for change, and that Keir, [Deputy leader] Angela and the whole Labour Party represent the change this country needs. I was proud to nominate Keir for leader in 2020, and the promises he made then to rebuild this party have put us on the path to power and made me proud to serve as a Labour MP. We swept antisemitism from the Labour Party and we have gone from our worst result in a century, to the edge of government,” he stated.

As one of London’s prominent constituencies with a substantial population of Indian heritage, a majority with their roots in Punjab, it remains to be seen who will be selected to succeed Sharma as Ealing Southall MP in the House of Commons after years of being represented by a British Indian parliamentarian.


Time for another chapter: Veteran British Indian MP Virendra Sharma to not seek re-election
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