Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

UK Elections 2024: British-Indian women who won Parliament seats

Twenty-six candidates of Indian origin have emerged victorious in the 2024 general election in the UK, a substantial number of them being women, several of whom are seeking re-election, alongside many first-timers. The Labour Party, which secured a resounding victory in the 650-seat Parliament, fielded a record number of Indian-origin candidates in this election, making amends for its previous anti-India stance. Here is a short list of women MPs with exemplary commitments and a courageous trait: to take a stand

Published: Jul 6, 2024 12:10:25 PM IST
Updated: Jul 6, 2024 12:38:17 PM IST

Lisa Nandy, Labour Party. Image: Ian Forsyth/Getty ImagesLisa Nandy, Labour Party. Image: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Lisa Nandy comfortably retained her Wigan seat for the Labour Party, which she has held since her election in 2010. Nandy's growing years were influenced by her Kolkata-born Marxist academic father's advocation of racial and gender equality and her mother's engagement as a social worker and TV producer. Lisa previously ran the refugee and asylum programme at The Children's Society. With a passion for towns, the bustling heart of the community which she feels has been left behind, Lisa is the co-founder of the think tank Centre for Towns, which was set up to ensure equal attention is given to the viability and prosperity of Britain's towns.

Nadia Whittome, Labour Party. Image: Ollie Millington/Getty ImagesNadia Whittome, Labour Party. Image: Ollie Millington/Getty Images

Nadia Whittome of the Labour Party has won the Nottingham East constituency, a seat she was elected from in 2019 at the age of 23, to make her the youngest serving MP. Nadia's Punjabi Sikh father migrated to the UK in his twenties, and her Anglo-Indian mother was a solicitor and a Party member. Dropping out of a law degree at the University of Nottingham, Nadia became a hate crime worker and a care worker. Nadia is one of the few queer MPs in the House of Commons and was Pink News' Politician of the Year in 2020. In May 2021, Nadia was a signatory to an open letter from Stylist magazine, which called on the government to address what it described as an "epidemic of male violence against women and girls."

Claire Coutinho, Conservative Party. Image: Leon Neal/Getty ImagesClaire Coutinho, Conservative Party. Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Claire Coutinho from the Conservative Party has won the East Surrey constituency. Born of parents of Goan descent who met at medical school in India and migrated to Britain to work for the NHS, Claire studied maths and philosophy at Oxford and did work stints at Merrill Lynch and KPMG before quitting to co-found a catering company running events with literary-themed menus. A Sunak loyalist, Claire was elected to Parliament in 2019, catapulted to becoming Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, responsible for steering how the UK responds to climate change, including ensuring the UK meets the target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Suella Braverman, Conservative Party. Image: Jeff Moore/PA Images via Getty ImagesSuella Braverman, Conservative Party. Image: Jeff Moore/PA Images via Getty Images

Suella Braverman has retained her Fareham & Waterlooville seat for the Conservative Party. Suella's parents, of Indian origin, migrated from Kenya and Mauritius to the UK with very little in the 1960s. Born in Harrow, Suella qualified as an Attorney in New York State, giving her a comparative insight into European and US legal, constitutional and political frameworks. As the first Cabinet Minister to have a baby in office, Suella had courted controversy demanding stricter measures against migration and suggesting that the Metropolitan police were too lenient with Pro-Palestine protesters. She was also sacked as home secretary after challenging Prime Minister Sunak.

Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrats Party. Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty ImagesMunira Wilson, Liberal Democrats Party. Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images

Munira Wilson reclaimed her Twickenham constituency for the Liberal Democrats Party, a seat she held since the 2019 general election. Munira was born to parents of East African Indian heritage who fled to Britain during the Zanzibar Revolution. Munira graduated in Modern Languages from Cambridge, trained as a tax consultant with Ernst & Young, turned as the campaigns organiser for Liberal Democrats, and eventually went on to spend over a decade as a lobbyist for Save the Children, Beating Bowel Cancer, Novartis and Merck. Upon her election to Parliament in 2019, Munira is holding the government accountable for Heathrow noise and pollution on proposals to pump treated sewage into the Thames and improve local South Western Railway services.

Satvir Kaur, Labour PartySatvir Kaur, Labour Party

Satvir Kaur from the Labour Party has won the Southampton Test constituency with a margin of 9,333 votes, taking over from a colleague who had won it for the Party for over two decades. Satvir Kaur was born and grew up in a traditional family in Southampton's inner city on free school meals. Satvir fought to go to University, being one of the first females in her community to do so. Joining the Labour Party in 2011, Satvir's campaigns have ensured that Southampton became a zero-tolerance city to hate crimes and transformed the city's library service.

Priti Patel, Conservative Party. Image: Hannah McKay / ReutersPriti Patel, Conservative Party. Image: Hannah McKay / Reuters

Priti Patel, the former home secretary, has retained her Witham seat in Essex, taking 37.2 percent of the vote for the Conservative Party. Born to parents of Gujarati descent who fled from Uganda to the UK and established a chain of newsagents in London and South East England, Priti pursued postgraduate studies in British government and politics at the University of Essex. She served as Home Secretary from 2019 to 2022. A career-long Eurosceptic, Patel led the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit during the 2016 referendum. Patel's trenchant views on areas including immigration, asylum and criminal justice have alarmed some critics.

Preet Kaur Gill, Labour PartyPreet Kaur Gill, Labour Party

Labour Party's Preeti Kaur Gill won from Birmingham Edgbaston seat with 44.3 percent of the vote. Preeti became Britain's first female Sikh MP when elected from the constituency in 2017. Born in Edgbaston to Indian parents, Preeti's father worked as a bus driver and was the longest-serving president of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick. After graduation, Preeti worked as a social worker with street kids in India and an Israeli kibbutz. Preeti has served as Shadow Minister for Primary Care and Public Health since 2023 and also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs. She still feels connected to her Punjabi roots and enjoys going back to her village, Jamsher, in Jalandhar, Punjab.

Seema Malhotra, Labour Party. Image: Guy Smallman/Getty ImagesSeema Malhotra, Labour Party. Image: Guy Smallman/Getty Images

Labour Party's Seema Malhotra has held on to her Feltham and Heston constituency, which she has been serving as Labour and Cooperative MP since 2011. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Seema grew above her family's shop, which sold school uniforms and jewellery in the west London borough. As a candidate in her primary school council elections, Seema first stood for the Labour Party in 1983 when she was 11 years old, inspired by her grandmother and four siblings. Seema aims to ensure young people have opportunities like she did, focusing on national skills strategy and framework. She also runs a charity called Hounslow's Promise, which works to provide better access to education and employment for local children from underprivileged backgrounds.

Shivani Raja, Conservative partyShivani Raja, Conservative party

Contesting a host of heavyweights, Shivani Raja has won the Leicester East for the Conservative Party. Leicester-born Shivani is a first-gen British citizen whose parents came to Leicester from Kenya and India in the late seventies. Learning the values of hard work and community engagement from her parents, Shivani graduated with first-class honours in cosmetic science from De Montfort University, competed in the 2017 Miss India UK beauty pageant and cares deeply about Leicester and its future.

Valerie Vaz, Labour Party. Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via ReutersValerie Vaz, Labour Party. Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via Reuters

Valerie Vaz, serving as the MP for Walsall South since 2010, has secured the seat in the new Walsall and Bloxwich constituency for a fifth term. Valerie was born in Yemen to a Goan family who relocated to the UK when she was ten. Qualifying as a solicitor in 1984, Valerie has been a presenter/interviewer for BBC TV, has worked as a lawyer in local government in London Boroughs, set up a community law firm Townsend Vaz, sat as a Deputy District Judge, and later as a Councillor in the London Boroughs. Valerie served as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and member of the Shadow Cabinet from October 2016 to May 2021.

Sureena Brackenbridge, Labour PartySureena Brackenbridge, Labour Party

Labour Party candidate Sureena Brackenbridge has won in the new Wolverhampton North East constituency. This 49-year-old mother of two is the Deputy Headteacher at Wolverhampton Secondary School. Sureena, in her address to the electorate, said, "This vote represents the support for a Labour Party fully focussed on the needs of working people; our commitment includes economic security, lowering your bills, rebuilding our NHS, and securing our borders."