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Prominent British Indian Labour MP says won’t seek re-election

Wednesday, 29 May, 2024
MP Virendra Sharma has represented the Ealing Southall constituency since 2007. (Photo courtesy: VirendraSharma@Facebook)

London: British Indian Labour MP Virendra Sharma has announced that he will step back from frontline politics and not seek re-election in the UK’s July 4 general election. A vocal advocate of close India-UK relations, the 77-year-old cited a desire for a new chapter in his life as a grandfather.

In a letter addressed to his party this week, Sharma, who has represented the heavily Punjabi-dominated Ealing Southall constituency since 2007, said: "As a British Indian and as a Hindu, as a Labour member, councilor and MP I have never struggled to reconcile those different, but complementary, identities".

“For over 50 years, I have served the party in one form or another. Now I believe the time has come for another chapter to begin. I want to let you know that I will not be standing at the next election … This does not dim my desire for Labour to win, and I am sure we will,” he added

Sharma, who chairs the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and co-chairs the British Hindus APPG, further said that he would continue to support Labour, and hoped to "continue to be part of the Labour project, but not from inside the House of Commons".

Sharma nominated Labour leader Keir Starmer for the role in 2020. "The promises he (Starmer) made then to rebuild this party have put us on the path to power and made me proud to serve as a Labour MP. We swept antisemitism from the Labour Party and we have gone from our worst result in a century, to the edge of government,” the MP said.

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