UK, April 27, 2017: As campaigning gathers pace for Britain’s snap general election, with many polls suggest a comfortable lead for the Conservative Party, but the question remains how Britain’s Indian community will vote? The 1.5 million people within the diaspora constitute a sizeable chunk of the electorate, particularly in areas such as Leicester, or London neighborhoods such as Southall.
According to The Hindu report, Britain’s Indian community has traditionally voted Labour, though there has been a shift over the decades. “The older generations had very strong links with local Labour parties and there was community voting… Now it’s a mixture of younger generations being assimilated as Asian British and less likely to follow the lead of their parents…and fewer community bonds,” says Dr. Stephen Fisher, professor of political sociology and an expert on political behavior at Oxford University.
Labour have seen a collapse in their crucial ethnic minority vote since 2010 in a blow for Ed Miliband with three-quarters of Indian voters abandoning the party.
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Influential pollsters say that members belonging to Labour Party are mistaken in their belief they are “sitting pretty” with the ethnic minority vote and Indian, Pakistani and African voters are turning away from the party in huge numbers.
The number of Indian voters identifying themselves with the Labour party have fallen from 77 percent in 1997 to just 18 percent in 2014 – a fall of over three quarters, according to the figures from the British Election Study.
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Complicating the situation will be the outcome of the Brexit referendum last year (2016). While there were efforts by the Leave campaign to woo the Asian voters with promises of being able to go soft on non-EU immigrants once Britain was out of the EU (European Union), the results suggest this had only limited impact, and Indians voted clearly to remain, mentioned The Hindu report.
There are many other factors that are likely to come into play, such as current consultation on the introduction of anti-caste legislation, which was used by some groups in 2015 to push Hindus in particular to support the Conservatives. The Labour Party’s shift to the left, and the appeal of leader Jeremy Corbyn will also come into play, as will the extent to which members of the community, particularly younger people, will be motivated to vote, says Dr. Martin.
– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram, Twitter: @NikitaTayal6
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