The UK's opposition Labor Party is reviewing its efforts to reach out to British Indians amid concerns that the party's support among the country's largest ethnic minority has declined in recent years, according to a social media report.
People of Indian descent remain the largest Asian ethnic group and the largest non-white ethnic group in the UK and make up 3.1 per cent of the population of 1.8 million, according to the 2021 UK Census.
Keir Starmer's Labor has taken a series of steps aimed at re-engaging with British Indians, including appointing two community outreach volunteers, revamping the Labor Friends of India group and organizing a trip to India for two of his party's key shadow ministers, The Guardian reports. According to a newspaper reported on Thursday.
There is growing evidence that Labor has lost support among people of Indian descent.
In 2010, 61 per cent of British Indians said they supported Labour, but a poll seen by The Guardian shows that figure fell in 2019 to just 30 per cent.
Senior Labor leaders fear that the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Britain's first Hindu Prime Minister may further this trend.
Focus groups held late last year among first, second and third generation Indians by consultancy Public First highlighted the problem facing Labor.
One attendee said Rishi Sunak's stance showed that “the situation is changing” for British Indians, while another commented: “It's great how he is bringing the Indian community into the tradition of 10 Downing Street.” The last general election expected to be called is January 2025, but there is a very small possibility that Rishi Sunak will want to postpone the election until after next year.
According to the 2021 census, the number of Hindus in England and Wales was 1,032,775, or 1.7 percent of the population.
“We have taken Indian voters for granted for years, but it is becoming increasingly clear that they are heading in the other direction, and we need to do something about it,” the newspaper said, citing a party official.
A party spokesperson said: “New Labor under Keir Starmer has returned to serving workers and continues to engage with people of all backgrounds and beliefs – including our Indian communities.” Steps taken by party supporters include setting up a new group called Indian Workers to organize community events and message British Indians on social media.
“As a comprehensive fundraising initiative focused on organizing events and social media outreach, we seek to serve the broadest range of stakeholders to ensure a Labor victory,” said Krish Raval, the group’s president. Two volunteers have been appointed to work with the group, with part of their work focusing on informing Labor parliamentary candidates on issues important to India.
On Sunday, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy and Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds will travel to Delhi and Mumbai on a five-day trip also aimed at demonstrating that the party is not hostile to Indian interests.
Indians are the second largest immigrant group in the United Kingdom.
For many years, nearly two-thirds of British Indians supported Labour, in line with other ethnic minority groups.
But this number has decreased significantly in recent years.
Experts say the change occurred partly for social and economic reasons and partly for religious reasons.
As British Indians have become wealthier in recent years, survey data shows their attitudes have become more conservative.
UK In a Changing Europe poll shows a majority of Hindus who voted in the 2019 election supported the Conservatives.
These long-term trends have been exacerbated by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labor Party, given his support for Kashmiri independence – a vision that is deeply unpopular among Indian Hindus.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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