British Sikhs: “Our vote will not be allowed to be taken for granted”
London – 17 September 2023
Over 15,000 Sikhs took part in the 3-day convention at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick that concluded today and marked the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Sikh Federation (UK).
Those gathered were told those who manage the 250+ Sikh Gurdwaras in the UK will be encouraged to put in place strict measures to ensure the Sikh vote is not taken for granted at the next General Election.
Only politicians that provide specific public commitments to the Sikh community will be provided a platform at Gurdwaras in the run up to the General Election.
This move will significantly increase pressure on all politicians who wish to speak at Gurdwaras to understand and address issues set out in the updated Sikh Manifesto that will be released at least 3 months before the next General Election.
In the last 5 years after the David Cameron/Theresa May era the Conservatives with the Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak in senior positions have negatively targeted Sikhs and hugely damaged the Conservative reputationwithin the community.
Those participating in the convention expect to see a Labour Government elected next year that could be in power for at least 10 years. The number of Sikh MPs in a Labour Government is expected to increase from two who are both Shadow Ministers to nine. Sikh candidates have been selected in existing Labour seats in Derby, Huddersfield, Ilford and Southampton and seats Labour are expected to win in Bolton, Loughborough and Wolverhampton.
The Labour leadership has already made several commitments about recognising and addressing anti-Sikh hate crimes, the release and return of Jagtar Singh Johal to be with his family in Scotland and an independent public inquiry into UK involvement in the events of June 1984.
However, the community will want a Labour Government to deliver a statutory Code of Practice on the Sikh articles of faith, officially recognise the 1984 Sikh Genocide and working with other governments take this forward on the global stage.
Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) speaking after the convention said:
“We will encourage Gurdwaras to completely change the dynamics in terms of politicians only being given a platform if they make specific commitments to the community.”
“We have developed a strategy for a Labour Government and a Conservative Opposition.”
“The two Sikh MPs have proved their community credentials and we are confident about several Sikh PPCs based on early interactions. However, we will focus on understanding where each of them stands on specific community issues before the General Election.”
“We must have a Labour government prepared to publicly lead condemnation of the Indian government’s systematic discrimination and promotion of violence towards religious and other minorities in India.”
ENDS Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)