Why is the Labour Party silent on racist comments by Ealing Southall MP against Sikhs?


**The Labour leader by failing to take any action against the MP when video evidence has been provided to the party stands accused of being weak on racism within the Labour Party

“It is absolutely appalling the Labour Party and its leader has taken no action on these racist comments by one of its MPs a week after he was caught on video.”

“The MP has not been forced to apologise or be suspended from the party. By failing to act the Labour leadership is endorsing racism against the Sikh community is acceptable.”**

London – 9 October 2022

On Monday 3 October a video started to be shared of Virendra Sharma the MP for Ealing Southall after he was challenged when taking part in the Gurdwara election at Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall the day before.

The MP failed to properly handle the situation when he was called out for not taking up issues on behalf of Sikh constituents with the Indian government. He responded to being challenged by becoming confrontational and stepped over the mark by making deeply offensive comments about the Sikh identity.

The Sikh Federation (UK) raised the matter in writing with the Labour Party on 3 October as soon as the video was shared and followed up by warning the Labour Party of the reaction of the Sikh community to Virendra Sharma’s comments. On Thursday the following was sent to Keir Starmer urging him to take action in the next 48 hours.

Dear Keir

On Sunday 2 October Virendra Sharma, the Labour MP for Ealing Southall was videoed getting into an altercation with a Sikh man from East London. Virendra Sharma was being challenged on not taking up issues on behalf of Sikh constituents with the Indian government.

Virendra Sharma could have handled the situation much better by pointing out issues he has taken up for the Sikh community. He however chose to adopt a different and confrontational approach by telling the man to stick to UK issues. For any UK MP to adopt this stance is very odd as they all take up issues across the globe that concern their constituents.

If this was not bad enough Virendra Sharma was clearly upset at being challenged and made a very offensive comment about the Sikh identity. He then repeated the same comment that has outraged many Sikhs. The video shows things got ugly as his offensive comments got a reaction.

On Monday 3 October we shared the video and raised the matter with the Labour Party to intervene and get Virendra Sharma to issue an immediate apology for any offence caused to Sikhs. We have followed this up including pointing out Rupa Huq despite her apology was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party after an “ill judged” remark during a fringe meeting describing the Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng as “superficially” black.

Rupa Huq was suspended as her comment was racist. Virendra Sharma has been caught on video making a racist comment and gesture not once, but twice towards a Sikh man about his beard. In the absence of an apology Virendra Sharma must now have the party whip suspended. It will be absolutely appalling if the Labour Party takes no action as it will be endorsing racism against Sikhs is acceptable.

We will be making this communication and video public if no action is forthcoming by Virendra Sharma and the Labour Party in the next 48 hours.

A week after the incident the Labour Party and its leader has failed to take any action against Virendra Sharma. Only the party and leader can explain why they have failed to act against racism against Sikhs when they have been provided video evidence.

ENDS Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK) info@sikhfeduk.com

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