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Labour launches new initiatives to win back British Indian voters


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Amidst concerns of dwindling support from the UK’s largest ethnic minority, Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is implementing new strategies to reengage with British Indians.

Recent initiatives include recruiting two community outreach volunteers, revitalising the Labour Friends of India group, and arranging a visit to India for senior shadow ministers David Lammy and Jonathan Reynolds.

A significant decline in British Indian support for Labour has been noted, with a survey revealing a drop from 61% in 2010 to just 30% in 2019, The Guardian reported.

Acknowledging this shift, a party official admitted, “We’ve taken Indian voters for granted for years, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious they are going elsewhere and we need to do something about that.”

Echoing this sentiment, a party spokesperson emphasised Labour’s commitment to working people and engagement with diverse communities, including Indian.

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Efforts to reconnect include the establishment of Labour Indians, a group dedicated to organising community events and engaging British Indians through social media.

Krish Raval, chair of Labour Indians, said, “As a canvassing umbrella initiative focused on event organisation and social media dissemination, we’re looking to serve the widest group of stakeholders to ensure a Labour victory.”

The outreach extends to educating Labour parliamentary candidates on India-related issues. Meanwhile, Lammy and Reynolds’ upcoming trip to Delhi and Mumbai on Sunday (4) underscores Labour’s interest in Indian affairs.

Indians represent the UK’s largest minority-ethnic group and second-largest immigrant community. Historically, nearly two-thirds of British Indians supported the Labour Party, mirroring other minority-ethnic groups.

However, a recent UK in a Changing Europe survey revealed a significant decline, with only 30% supporting Labour in 2019, closely followed by 24% favouring the Tories.

The shift in British Indian support is attributed to various factors, including socioeconomic changes and the influence of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The survey data revealed a majority of Hindu voters supported the Tories, a trend not seen in Muslim, Sikh, or Buddhist communities.

This shift was further amplified by Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Kashmir and active campaigning by BJP activists in the UK.

In 2019, BJP supporters actively campaigned for the Tories in over 40 UK constituencies, leading to allegations of interference by the Indian government in British politics.

Senior Labour members are concerned that Rishi Sunak, being the UK’s first Hindu Prime Minister, might amplify this trend.

Focus groups conducted by the consultancy Public First showed British Indians expressing pride in Sunak’s achievements and his integration of Indian traditions into British political life.

James Frayne, founding partner at Public First noted these groups’ more favourable view of Sunak compared to the average British voter.

Labour’s recent moves signal a strategic shift to regain the trust and support of the British Indian community, addressing both the party’s past oversights and the evolving political landscape.


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