British Chinese and Bangladeshis celebrate as they get their first MPs in the British parliament
London (AsiaNews) – Alan Mak was elected in the riding of Havant in South West England, where he picked up 23,159 votes or 51 per cent of the ballots cast.
He is the first Member of the House of Commons of Chinese background, the only of the 11 candidates of Chinese heritage who ran in the 7 May election who made it to Westminster.
The election also saw 13 candidates of Bangladeshi origin run, with three elected – Tulip Siddiq, Rushanara Ali and Rupa Huq – as Labour MPs.
Tulip Siddiq got 23,977 votes against her Conservative counterpart Simon Marcus’ 22,839 votes in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency. She is the granddaughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (first prime minister of Bangladesh after it broke away from Pakistan in 1971) and niece of current Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Rushanara Ali and Rupa Huq won respectively in Bethnal Green and Bow (24,317 votes) and London’s Ealing Central and Acton seat (22,002 votes).
The election to the House of Commons of so many British Asian candidates is a first in the history of British democracy. For some analysts, Alan Mak’s election is a potential turning point in UK politics.
However, the rookie MP has signalled his lack of interest in ethnic issues. In an interview with the Post Magazine, Mak said he cared little for his ethnic identity, preferring to focus more on the "bigger and more important" issues.
He also dismissed as naive the belief that his victory would mean the party would better address the needs of the 500,000 or so British Chinese and East Asians, the country's third-largest foreign ethnic group.
"I certainly have no interest in what people in Hong Kong or China think of me, because I am not representing them. I am representing the people of Havant," he said in the Post Magazine interview.
None of the 59 candidates of Indian origin made it so far into parliament. Out of the UK’s 1.5 million Indian community, 615,000 are voters.
According to the latest results, David Cameron’s Conservatives won in what pre-election analysts considered the most controversial election in recent history.
Surveys had predicted a close race between Labour and Conservatives. However, the Tories picked up 325 seats (out of 650). That is one seat short of an overall majority but far better than expected from pre-election surveys, which had put the centre-right Conservatives at 316 seats.
The real losers are Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, which won only 232 seats (238 according to exist polls) against 256 in the outgoing parliament
The party saw a wipe-out in Scotland where Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish Nationalist Party won 56 out of 59 seats in the House of Commons.
Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats elected or were leading in 12 ridings, 44 less than in the previous legislature.
Exit polls also indicated that Nigel Farage’s populist, anti-Europe UKIP would get only two seats.