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A first: 2 Indian-origin women enter House of Commons

Source: PTI
May 07, 2010 10:46 IST
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For the first time, two Indian-origin women have been elected to the House of Commons, setting a new record for representation of ethnic minorities in Britain.

Conservative Priti Patel was declared elected from the Witham constituency while Labour candidate Valerie Vaz -- sister of Indian-origin Labour Member of Parliament Keith Vaz -- was elected from Walsall South.

Vaz himself retained his seat in Leicester East though his vote share got reduced by 5 percent from the last elections.

It is the first time a brother-sister duo is being elected to the House of Commons.

More Asian candidates are expected to be elected as results come in.

Keith Vaz said the election results were expected to break the previous record of 15 Asian MPs.

Shahid Malik, Communities minister in the Gordon Brown government, lost his seat in Dewsbury.

A record 89 candidates of Asian origin contested the elections this time. In the 2005 elections, there were 68 candidates and the highest number of ethnic minority MPs -- 15 -- were declared elected.

Simon Woolley, OBV's director, said: "Never before in British history have our communities been so strategically well placed and mobilised to push for an agenda of racial justice."

The 15 ethnic minority MPs elected in 2005 were: Diane Abbott ( Labour), Adam Afriyie (Conservative), Dawn Butler (Labour), Parmjit Dhanda (Labour), Mark Hendrick (Labour), Piara Khabra (Labour), Sadiq Khan (Labour), Ashok Kumar (Labour), David Lammy (Labour), Khalid Mahmood (Labour), Shahid Malik (Labour), Mohamed Sarwar (Labour), Marsha Singh (Labour), Shailesh Vara (Conservative), and Keith Vaz

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