Elham Asaad Buaras
An estimated 897 Muslim candidates took part in the local council elections in England, according to statistics exclusively compiled by The Muslim News.
The majority of Muslim candidates contesting seats were Labour (354), 108 more than the number who stood for the Conservatives (246).
The Lib-Dems – the only major political party with no Muslim MP or MEP - fell way behind with only 123 Muslim candidates, 24 Muslim candidates represented the Green Party and 20 Muslim candidates chose to stand as independents – a significant 91 stood for break-away and local affiliate Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative groups.
Remarkably UKIP which has been embroiled in a series of racism and Islamophobia rows in the run up to the elections has fielded 10 Muslim candidates.
100 of the 161 councils in England holding elections featured a Muslim candidate, the bulk of which (62%) were in the capital (unsurprising as 32 London borough councils were up for election).
7% (59) of Muslim candidates stood in Yorkshire (Bradford, 30; Hull, 1; Leeds, 9; Rotherham, 7; Sheffield, 9 and Wakefield, 3, 5% (45) stood in the West Midlands (Birmingham, 23; Coventry, 3; Dudley, 5; Walsall, 9; Wolverhampton, 3 and Worcester, 1)
Only 194 Muslim women contested council seats this year – constituting only 22% of all the Muslim candidates. Like their male counterparts the majority of Muslim women candidates stood for Labour (93) more than double the number who stood for the Conservatives (45) and over 5 times more than those who stood for the Lib-Dems (18).
Labour could have extended their number of Muslim candidates were it not for the emergence of break-away Labour groups in Harrow and the Tower Hamlets formed under accusations of discrimination and incompetence.
In Harrow only 9 (of the 31) Muslim candidates ran for Labour compared to 19 who stood for the Independent Labour Group (ILG).
Last year nine councillors (four of whom were Muslim) left Labour to form the ILG, after Cllr David Perry successfully challenged council leader Thaya Idaikkadar at the group’s AGM – taking control of the Labour Group.
In the Tower Hamlets many Muslim candidates defected to the Tower Hamlets First (THF) group; in total 38 Muslim candidates ran for TMF.
The full list of all elected councillors will be published in the next issue of The Muslim News – not included will be the performance of the three Muslim candidates contesting the Tower Hamlet’s Blackwall and Cubitt Town ward as TMF candidate – Mohammed Hafizur Rahman. – passed away two days prior to the elections on May 22.