A record number of British-Muslim MPs were elected to parliament in 2019. Here they are...

A record number of British-Muslim MPs were elected to parliament in 2019. Here they are...
The new MPs in both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party come from a Muslim background, and a few Muslim MPs have kept their seats.
5 min read
18 December, 2019
Apsana Begum [Twitter]
The UK General Election has not only shaken up the country and given Boris Johnson the Conservative Party majority he wanted, but also brought a new batch of diverse Muslim MPs to parliament.

British Muslims across the country and from across party lines have voiced their concerns over the victory of Johnson, who has been repeatedly criticised for comments made about the niqab, which were seen by many as Islamophobic, as well as the Conservative Party itself, which has just today launched a probe into Islamophobia following claims it has a systemic issue.

The Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Harun Khan, responded to the election result by calling for the right-wing prime minister to lead with unity and reassure Muslims of their place in society.

"Mr Johnson commands a majority, but there is a palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities around the country," Khan said in a statement released on Friday.

"We entered the election campaign period with long standing concerns about bigotry in our politics and our governing party. Now we worry that Islamophobia is 'oven-ready' for government," he added.

New MPs in both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party come from a Muslim background, and a few Muslim MPs have kept their seats.

A record number of Muslim MPs or those from Muslim backgrounds were elected in the 2019 elections. Here they are:

New Muslim Conservative MPs
Khan is the first gay Muslim MP to be elected [Imran Ahmad Khan/Twitter] 

  • Imran Ahmad Khan - MP for Wakefield
Khan made history when he was elected as MP for Wakefield in Yorkshire on Thursday. He beat the incumbent MP by 3,358 votes.

Khan is the first Ahmadi ever to be elected to British parliament - the Ahmadiyya Muslim minority movement which originates from the Punjab.

  • Saqib Bhatti - MP for Meriden
Bhatti is a chartered accountant [Saqib Bhatti/Twitter]
Saqib Bhatti won Meriden with 34,358 votes (63.4 per cent of vote share). Born in 1985 in Walsall, West Midlands, he read law at the London School of Economics (LSE) and later went on to become the youngest president of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce – as he is also a chartered accountant.

During the election campaign he cited his father's work ethic as inspiration for his own.

"The biggest influence on me is my father who moved to the UK in the 1960s in pursuit of the 'Great British Dream', he taught me the values of hard work, integrity and determination which have driven my life so far," he said.

The Muslim Conservative MPs who kept their seats:

  • Rehman Chishti, Gillingham & Rainham with 28,173 votes (61.3 per cent vote share)
  • Nusrat Ghani, Wealden with 37,043 votes (60.8 per cent vote share)
  • Sajid Javid, Bromsgrove with 34,408 votes (63.4 per cent vote share).

New Muslim Labour MPs

  • Apsana Begum - MP for Poplar & Limehouse
Begum is the fierce critic of Islamophobia [Getty]

Begum won Poplar & Limehouse with 38,660 votes (68 percent of vote) and has gone on to become the first hijab-wearing Member of Parliament.

Begum is a fierce critic of Islamophobia and antisemitism, and recently met with historian David J Rosenberg to discuss "Limehouse's great history of different communities uniting together in solidarity against antisemitism, Islamophobia, LGBT+ hate".

She was elected for the first time in her constituency, succeeding MP Jim Fitzpatrick.

Raised locally, Begum's campaign emphasised worker's rights, education, migrant’s rights, healthcare, and opposing wars abroad.

During the elections Begum was endorsed by Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott:

"I am delighted that Apsana - a young working class Bengali woman - has put herself forward to represent the seat where she was born and has lived all her life."

"Apsana has a strong record in fighting against the Tories' austerity agenda – standing up for young people, women and ethnic minorities in particular."

  • Zarah Sultana - MP for Coventry South
The response to injustice, she said, is socialism [Twitter]

Zarah Sultana won Coventry South with 19,544 votes and a one per cent winning margin over the Conservative Party’s Mattie Heaven.

Sultana exploded onto the political stage early on in the race after a social media row following her posts about the Middle East when she was at Birmingham University, including one in which she said she would "celebrate" the death of Tony Blair.

In her acceptance speech, the 26-year-old, who once worked for the West Midlands Labour Party office, pledged to have "an unashamed commitment to take on the privileged few, and transform society in the interests of the many…"

"As a working-class Muslim woman, I feel the threats posed by a resurgent hard right Tory Party. But our movement has before and will again, beat back the forces of hate, division and austerity that have decimated our communities.

"The response to injustice is, and always will be, socialism," she added.

  • Tahir Ali MP for Birmingham Hall Green
Ali won in a landslide victory [Getty]
Ali won Birmingham Hall Green with 67.8 per cent of the vote share - a landslide victory that unseated Labour MP Roger Godsiff in the swing constituency.

During his election speech, Ali said: "I represent the whole of Hall Green and that includes voters who backed me, those who did not vote for me and those who did not vote at all. I will represent everyone equally."

Ali has been involved in local politics since 1999, and has served as part of Birmingham City Council’s cabinet from 2012 to 2016.

The Muslim Labour MPs who kept their seats:
  • Rushanara Ali, Bethnal Green & Bow with 44,052 votes (72 per cent of vote share)
  • Yasmin Qureshi, Bolton South East with 21,516 votes (53 per cent of vote share)
  • Shabana Mahmood, Birmingham Ladypool with 33.355 votes (79.2 per cent of vote share)
  • Naz Shah, Bradford West with 33,736 votes (76.2 per cent of vote share)
  • Imran Hussein, Bradford East with 27,825 votes (63 per cent of vote share)
  • Khalid Mahmood, Birmingham Perry Barr with 26,594 votes (63.1 per cent of vote share)
  • Mohammed Yasin, Bedford with a majority of 145 votes (43.3 per cent of vote share)
  • Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead & Kilburn with 28,080 votes (48.9 per cent of vote share)
  • Rupa Huq, Ealing Central & Acton with 28,132 votes (51.3 per cent of vote share)
  • Rosena Allin-Khan, Tooting with 30,811 votes (52.7 per cent of vote share)
  • Afzal Khan, Manchester Gorton with 34,583 votes (77.6 per cent of vote share).

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