Independents backed by pro-Palestine voters overshadow Labour’s victory in UK polls
LONDON: (Web Desk) Several independent pro-Palestine candidates either won or gave a tough competition to the sitting representatives in the recent UK elections.

 Leanne Muhamad, an Independent candidate from Ilford North, garnered 32.2% of the votes, challenging the dominance of the two major parties.

As per the results of the UK’s general elections, Starmer will be the new British Prime Minister with his party winning 410 out of 650 parliamentary seats as the Rishi Sunak-led Conservatives will leave the office, as they have been to just 119 MPs.

Though the Labour party managed to win the elections undisputedly, the dissatisfaction of the masses with the party over their diluted stance on Israel’s  genocidal war in Gaza appeared instrumental in turning the tables in several constituencies.

The victory appears incomplete as the “Muslim question” and larger issues faced by immigrant communities remain overlooked, while the Labour leadership assumes to own the implicit consent of the respective groups, Maktoob Media reported.

Also read: Keir Starmer Britain’s next PM as Labour sweeps into power with huge majority

The downfall has posed a threat to Labour Party officials, who had underestimated the power of Muslim votes.

The role of “The Muslim Vote”, a coalition of organisations and individuals, has been pivotal in the campaign of all the independent Muslim candidates.

It claimed that this election signals a shift for Muslims.

“We will no longer tolerate being taken for granted. We are a powerful, united force of 4 million acting in unison. We are focused on seats where the Muslim vote can influence the outcome. We are here for the long term,” it said.

According to The Muslim Vote spokespersons, many smaller parties such as the Green party, Liberal Democrats, Workers party and others “became the natural recipients of Muslim votes because of their better record on key issues the Muslim community cares about, in particular peace in Palestine.”

“Today, as predicted, Labour have secured a landslide. But in Muslim-heavy seats the seeds of our community’s future have been sown. It will not be a landslide in the coming elections – and that is when the message sent today will really resonate,” the Muslim group warned.

Earlier, citizens across the UK had expressed their discontent with Labour when it called for an “enduring cessation of fighting” in Gaza rather than an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.

Notably, Starmer also backed Israel’s decision to cut Gaza from power, water and other necessities, while legal experts termed the move as a war crime.

After facing severe backlash, the party had to reconsider its stance and the Labour officials denied any allegation against Starmer that he was supportive of Israel’s siege of Gaza enclave.

Nevertheless, a large portion of the British public were disillusioned and decided to vote for candidates who unconditionally stand with the Palestinian people.

In Birmingham Perry Barr constituency, pro-Palestine independent candidate Ayoub Khan defeated Labour’s long-standing parliamentarian Khalid Mahmood.

Another independent pro-Palestine candidate Shockat Adam, who had contested from the East Midlands constituency of Leicester South, overthrew Labour’s Shadow Cabinet minister Jon Ashworth.

In what has been described as one of the biggest shocks in the current UK general election, Adam, a 51-year-old local, bagged 14,739 votes, to beat Ashworth,  who received 13,760, by a margin of 979 votes.

Also read: Israel sends delegation to negotiate hostage release deal with Hamas

It is worth mentioning here that Leicester South had been a stronghold of the Labour Party for decades.

Another pro-Palestine candidate Iqbal Hussain Mohamed secured his ticket to parliament with an overhauling victory over Labour’s Heather Iqbal in the West Yorkshire constituency of Dewsbury & Batley.

Mohamed won 15,641 votes, accounting for 41.1 percent of the total vote share, while Labour’s Iqbal received only 8,707 votes, which is 22.9 percent.

In the northwestern ex-industrial town of Blackburn, independent candidate Adnan Hussain overpowered Labour’s Kate Hollern.

Despite winning the Birmingham Ladywood seat, the vote share of Labour’s shadow justice secretary, Shabana Mahmood, was drastically decreased.

She beat the pro-Palestine and independent candidate Akhmed Yakoob by just under 3,500 votes.

Mahmood secured 15,558 votes with 42.5 percent of the vote share, while Yakoob came second with 12,137 votes.

Muslim community had strongly voiced their opposition against Mahmood for leaving the constituency deprived, an area where nearly half of all children live in poverty and high levels of unemployment.

She had also invited criticism by abstaining on a Gaza ceasefire vote and refusing to resign from the shadow cabinet.

Another Labour MP Rushanara Ali had to ward off a solid challenge from pro-Palestine candidate Ajmal Masroor in the run-up for the London seat of Bethnal Green and Stepney, winning by a margin of 1,689 votes.

Local activist and Muslim preacher Masroor, who secured 14,207 votes, had placed Gaza genocide at the centre of his campaign.

Rushanara Ali had also stirred controversy in November, after she voted to abstain on a ceasefire vote for Gaza despite the people of her constituency calling for supporting the notion.

Leanne Muhamad, an Independent candidate from Ilford North, garnered 32.2% of the votes, challenging the dominance of the two major parties. Muhamad, a pro-Palestinian advocate, secured 15,119 votes, coming close to defeating Labour Party candidate Wes Streeting, a staunch Israeli supporter.