Are deep shifts in Muslim and Jewish voting here to stay?

by | Jul 6, 2024 | Politics

8 hours agoBy Aleem Maqbool, Religion editorGetty ImagesHowever big the headline change in the vote between the past two elections, drill down into two demographic pockets of Britain and you find staggering shifts.It all centres around the relationships between the Labour Party and not just Muslim voters, but Jewish voters too.It leaves a party in government that has made progress in winning back trust among people from one faith group while suddenly finding itself with a lot of work to do to win back many members of the other.The drop in the Labour vote share among British Muslims between 2019 and 2024 very obviously played out in several constituencies. This happened most dramatically in Leicester South, with a Muslim population close to 30%, where Shadow Paymaster General Jon Ashworth lost his seat to independent Shockat Adam.In the seat of Dewsbury and Batley, in Birmingham Perry Barr and in Blackburn, there were wins for independents in what had been safe Labour seats with large numbers of Muslim voters.In places like Bradford West and the seat of Bethnal Green and Stepney in east London, sitting Labour MPs clung on with startling reductions in their majorities.Mish Rahman, from Wolverhampton, is not just any Muslim voter. He currently sits on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party, a body of fewer than 40 members.He is furious with the party’s response to the killing of tens of thousands of people in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis there.Getty Images“In my community it has got to the point where I am now embarrassed about my affiliation with Labour,” he says.“It was hard even to tell members of my own extended family to go and knock on doors to tell people to vote for a party that originally gave Israel carte blanche in its response to the horrific 7 October attacks,” says Mr Rahman.He lays the blame for the decline in Muslim voting for Labour squarely at the door of the Labour leader.Sir Keir Starmer was criticised by many in his party, including councillors, for an interview with LBC in October in which he suggested that Israel “had the right” to withhold power and water in Gaza. His spokesman subsequently suggested the Labour leader had only meant to say Israel had a general right to self-defence.Then when Labour MPs were told by the party leadership in November to abstain from voting on an SNP-led motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, some Labour councillors resigned and, for many Muslims, trust in their Labour MP was lost.Faith communities are far from homogenous, of course. There are myriad factors that govern how a person will cast their vote, but faith does throw up a unique set of considerations that plays out in broad voting patterns.Muslims are estimated to form around 6.5% of the population of England and Wales, with around 2% in Scotland and 1% in Northern Ireland.Well over 80% of Muslims are believed to have voted for Labour in 2019. Research just ahead of the 2024 election suggested that had dropped nationally by up to 20 percentage …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nn8 hours agoBy Aleem Maqbool, Religion editorGetty ImagesHowever big the headline change in the vote between the past two elections, drill down into two demographic pockets of Britain and you find staggering shifts.It all centres around the relationships between the Labour Party and not just Muslim voters, but Jewish voters too.It leaves a party in government that has made progress in winning back trust among people from one faith group while suddenly finding itself with a lot of work to do to win back many members of the other.The drop in the Labour vote share among British Muslims between 2019 and 2024 very obviously played out in several constituencies. This happened most dramatically in Leicester South, with a Muslim population close to 30%, where Shadow Paymaster General Jon Ashworth lost his seat to independent Shockat Adam.In the seat of Dewsbury and Batley, in Birmingham Perry Barr and in Blackburn, there were wins for independents in what had been safe Labour seats with large numbers of Muslim voters.In places like Bradford West and the seat of Bethnal Green and Stepney in east London, sitting Labour MPs clung on with startling reductions in their majorities.Mish Rahman, from Wolverhampton, is not just any Muslim voter. He currently sits on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party, a body of fewer than 40 members.He is furious with the party’s response to the killing of tens of thousands of people in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis there.Getty Images“In my community it has got to the point where I am now embarrassed about my affiliation with Labour,” he says.“It was hard even to tell members of my own extended family to go and knock on doors to tell people to vote for a party that originally gave Israel carte blanche in its response to the horrific 7 October attacks,” says Mr Rahman.He lays the blame for the decline in Muslim voting for Labour squarely at the door of the Labour leader.Sir Keir Starmer was criticised by many in his party, including councillors, for an interview with LBC in October in which he suggested that Israel “had the right” to withhold power and water in Gaza. His spokesman subsequently suggested the Labour leader had only meant to say Israel had a general right to self-defence.Then when Labour MPs were told by the party leadership in November to abstain from voting on an SNP-led motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, some Labour councillors resigned and, for many Muslims, trust in their Labour MP was lost.Faith communities are far from homogenous, of course. There are myriad factors that govern how a person will cast their vote, but faith does throw up a unique set of considerations that plays out in broad voting patterns.Muslims are estimated to form around 6.5% of the population of England and Wales, with around 2% in Scotland and 1% in Northern Ireland.Well over 80% of Muslims are believed to have voted for Labour in 2019. Research just ahead of the 2024 election suggested that had dropped nationally by up to 20 percentage …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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