• Recent Comments

    operationblackvote on The Apprentice: in defence of…
    David Stuart on No, not again: Jimmy Mubenga d…
    David Stuart on National Black Police Ass…
    Marvelous on The Apprentice: in defence of…
    Regina Nyametscher on The Apprentice: in defence of…
    Marcus on The Apprentice: in defence of…
    James Odoi on The Apprentice: in defence of…
  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

The future’s bright for the Lib Dems

(Left to right): Qassim Afzal, Ayoub Khan, Karen Hamilton, Farooq Qureshi, Tariq Khan, Farid Ahmed, Parmjit Singh Gill and Ajmal Masroor.

Liberal Democrats hope to see one BME candidate elected to Westminster, but if the tide goes their way Nick Clegg could welcome at least three to his Commons team.

By Lester Holloway

The most likely is Parmjit Singh Gill, who has already tasted parliamentary life having been elected at the Leicester South byelection in 2004. Although he lost a year later at the last general election, he stands an excellent chance of returning in the same seat next year.

The Leicester City councillor has strong support from the Asian community and is busy broadening his campaign.

Qassim Afzal, who is standing in Manchester Gorton for the second time, will feel he can claim a prize scalp in the shape of Labour’s veteran MP Gerald Kaufman. And there is every reason to believe he can do it.

Walthamstow is one of several multicultural London neighbourhoods where Lib Dems are resurgent at a local level, winning councillors and challenging for the town hall. Out of these areas Walthamstow is the only one where the party has a BME general election candidate, and Farid Ahmed has a great chance of winning there.

Overall, the party is fielding more BME candidates (34) than both Labour and the Conservatives (30 each) – something the Lib Dems have done before. But Clegg knows what counts are results, and the leader has been a powerful advocate of change in deeds as well as words.

Many of the programmes he has instigated are aimed at the election after next, when the Lib Dems hope to select more BME wannabes in winnable seats. However in reality, they need to avoid having another all-white Commons team again next year, so much rests on Gill, Afzal and Farid.

Certainly the future of the party lies in making further in-roads into Labour’s vote in the inner cities, and cementing their support where they have already won, such as Bristol, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.

The fact that Clegg has won equal footing with Gordon Brown and David Cameron in the televised leaders debates will boost party activists optimism that they can make even more ground in breaking the two-party system.

In terms of BME candidates, there are quite a number of ‘wildcards’ who could get seriously close to victory should the Lib Dems enjoy a good election campaign.

In fact there are a staggering seven seats where they pose a threat, including Birmingham Hodge Hill (Tariq Khan), Birmingham Ladywood (Ayoub Khan), Birmingham Perry Barr (Karen Hamilton), Leyton and Wanstead (Farooq Qureshi), and Ealing Southall (Nigel Bakhai).

With Labour facing an inevitable drop in support, the dynamics of the coming election means that they could even stand a chance in Bethnal Green and Bow (Ajmal Masroor) and Pendle (Afzal Anwar).

So the prospects for the Lib Dems look brighter than ever. And while the party’s Cowley Street headquarters would probably be happy and relieved to see one new BME MP next year as they work towards the following election, there is a strong possibility that more BME MPs could be returned at the next election.

LIB DEM CANDIDATES… SO FAR

Parmjit Singh Gill
Leicester South
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Extremely likely to get elected.

Qassim Afzal
Manchester Gorton
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Very Good. Only challenge to Labour’s Kaufman.

Farid Ahmed
Walthamstow
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Good chance. Well-placed to defeat Labour candidate.

Ajmal Masroor
Bethnal Green and Bow
Held by: Respect
2005 – 4th Place
Prospects: Possible. Top two parties in 2005 (Respect and Labour) could see vote tumble.

Afzal Anwar
Pendle
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Outside chance.

Tariq Khan
Birmingham Hodge Hill
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Possible. Best-placed party to beat government minister Liam Byrne

Farooq Qureshi
Leyton and Wanstead
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Possible. Best-placed party to beat Labour.

Ayoub Khan
Birmingham Ladywood
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Possible. Best-placed party to beat Labour candidate Shabana Mahmood.

Karen Hamilton
Birmingham Perry Barr
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Possible. Best-placed party to beat Labour MP Khalid Mahmood

Nigel Bakhai
Ealing Southall
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd
Prospects: Possible. Established candidate in the seat.

Joseph Lee
Greenwich and Woolwich
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Aiming to gain ground on Labour’s former minister Nick Raynsford.

Columba Blanga
Camberwell and Peckham
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: A strong campaign could eat into Harriet Harman’s majority.

Shabnum Mustapha
Glasgow South
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win, but could erode Labour’s majority.

Zuffar Haq
Harborough
Held by: Conservative
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Close but will be tough to oust the sitting Tory MP

Gerry Jerome
Croydon North
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Aiming for 2nd place.

Sanjay Samani
Angus
Held by: SNP
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: 2nd place within reach.

Shas Sheehan Wimbledon  Held by: Conservatives    2005 – 3rd Place    Prospects:  2nd place within reach.

Phillip Ling Bromsgrove   Held by: Conservatives    2005 – 3rd Place    Prospects: Would have been more interesting if the unpopular Tory MP Julie Kirkbride had not stood down. Now 2nd place looks more likely.

Mukhtar Ali
Bradford West
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

James Allie
Brent North
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

Alexis Diouf
Derbyshire South
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

Munira Wilson
Feltham and Heston
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win, but facing Labour MP Alan Keen, caught up in expenses scandal

Harrish Bisnauthsing
Grantham and Stamford
Held by: Conservatives
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

Andrew de Freitas
Great Grimsby
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win, but could move into 2nd place.

Dave Raval
Hackney South and Shoreditch
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Could erode majority of Labour minister Meg Hillier

Merlene Emerson
Hammersmith
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Difficult seat, but a rising star.

Nader Fekri
Keighley
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Tough fight in Labour heartland.

Aqila Choudhry
Leeds North East
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Aiming for 2nd place

Aladdin Ayesh
Leicestershire South
Held by: Conservatives
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

Rabi Martins
Luton North
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Difficult challenge for respected veteran.

Qurban Hussain
Luton South
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Difficult to call, Labour facing independent challenge from Esther Ransen

Prof Karrar Khan
Rushcliffe
Held by: Conservative
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

Bushra Irfan
Sheffield South East
Held by: Labour
2005 – 2nd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

Dr Zulfiqar Ali
Stoke on Trent South
Held by: Labour
2005 – 3rd Place
Prospects: Unlikely to win.

.

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. Actually Luton South is a very strong prospect for the Lib Dems. Labour will collapse. Esther and the Tories wont get widespread support. Qurban can do it.

  2. Lester’s analysis highlights the wealth of BME talent within the Party. Anyone of the candidates in the seats Lester has highligted will make a better MP than the seating Labour MPs

    I dont’t agree with Lester that the Party will be happy with one BME MP after the next general election
    Anything less than three will be a disappointment
    for me and the Party – and a loss to the country

    The public has to play its part in making Parliamnet more representative – that means backing their BME candidates

  3. Got more then we thought. Prolly more than Tories and less than Labour.

  4. The Lib Dems need to look and feel like a more diverse Party. True they had Lord Dholakia as their Chairman for a good while. They talk a good Human Rights agenda and have stood up to be counted against some of the more draconion proposals by successive Labour Home Secretaries. But in terms of diversity, the national Lib Dem set up does not look and feel very inclusive. Like the Tories, should they increase their BME representation in Parliament, they cannot stop at that. To be credible to voters, they must show that they value and trust BME members in leadership and development positions in their Party.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: