Labour Party candidate, Preet Kaur Gill became the first Sikh female candidate to become the MP after UK General Elections result were announced on Friday. Gill defeated her Conservative Party rival Caroline Squire by 6,917 votes to win Birmingham Edgbaston seat, by polling 24,124 votes. Speaking to the media on her victory, Gill said that she will continue to work hard and with passion. “I am delighted I have been given the opportunity to become the next MP for Edgbaston where I was born and raised. I want to engage with the people of Edgbaston and with hard work, passion and determination I think we can achieve great things together,” she said.
Meanwhile, in another first, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi pulled off a victory for Slough seat to become Labour Party’s first turban-wearing MP. Dhesi got 34,170 votes giving a strong defeat to his Conservative party rival by 16,998 votes. Speaking to the media on his win, Dhesi said he was “humbled’ and wishes to serve the town where he was born and raised.
Commending Labour Party for its decision to give an opportunity to turbaned candidates in the elections, Sikh Federation in UK said that the party now needs to have visible Sikh representation in House of Lords. “Credit to the Labour Party leadership for taking the bold step of giving Sikhs the opportunity to fight for winnable seats. Labour now needs to turn its attention to having visible Sikh representation in the House of Lords at the first opportunity so Sikhs are better represented and can bring fresh thinking and ideas,” it said in a statement.
With the voting count currently showing Conservative Party in lead with 303 seats, while Labour Party lagging behind at 257 seats, the chances for a “hung assembly” has been announced by BBC. The snap elections called on by UK PM Theresa May in order to prove her stronghold and to take control over Brexit negotiations said that that it is time for to provide stability.
Speaking to the media after winning her own parliamentary seat of Maidenhead in southeast England, May said, “At this time, more than anything else this country needs a period of stability.” She further went on to add that her party will work towards bringing stability. “If … the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes then it will be incumbent on us to ensure that we have that period of stability and that is exactly what we will do.”
The victories for Sikh candidates in UK has come at a time when there has been a surge in “hate crimes” against Sikh population in the West.