Sikhs hope to decide Hampstead and Kilburn election with 150 votes

Picture: Getty Images.

Picture: Getty Images. - Credit: Getty Images

Representatives from the Sikh Federation contacted Heathman recently to announce that Hampstead and Kilburn had been identified as one of 50 constituencies around the UK which could be decided at May’s general election by Sikh votes.

Filled with intrigue, Heathman responded by enquiring as to the size of the constituency’s Sikh population.

“According to 2011 census figures, there are 150 Sikhs of voting age living in Hampstead and Kilburn,” replied the Sikh Federation.

In a constituency with 78,552 eligible voters in 2010, a minority like the Sikh population in Hampstead and Kilburn will struggle to have much of a say on the final outcome of May’s electoral battle, Heathman would argue.

The Sikh Federation however points to Labour’s slender 42-vote victory over the Conservatives in 2010 as evidence that 150 votes could make all the difference.

With the national demise of the Liberal Democrats, who came within 1,000 votes of victory in Hampstead and Kilburn in 2010, it seems unlikely this year’s contest will be as tight.

Nevertheless, Hampstead and Kilburn’s Sikhs have a 10-point manifesto which they want the parliamentary candidates to respond to.

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The manifesto, which has been sent to all candidates standing in the Sikh Federation’s 50 target seats, includes calls for a statutory code of practice on items of the Sikh faith in order to prevent discrimination.

It also calls for an independent inquiry into British involvement in the Amritsar and Dehli massacres of 1984, the erection of a permanent central London monument to Sikhs who fell in the First World War and more effective Sikh representation in parliament.

“The response of parties and candidates to the manifesto will determine how many in the community vote,” said Bhai Amrik Singh, chairman of the Sikh Federation.

“We are looking for firm commitments from each political party on the big issues.”

Over to Hampstead and Kilburn’s parliamentary hopefuls.