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Labour has ‘searching’ to do after losing votes in areas with high Muslim population, Jess Phillips says

todayMay 4, 2024 1

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Labour has ‘searching’ to do after losing votes in areas with high Muslim population, Jess Phillips says

The Labour Party has some “searching” to do following its underperformance in areas with a high Muslim population, according to MP Jess Phillips.

Speaking to political editor Beth Rigby on the Electoral Dysfunction podcast, the Birmingham Yardley MP said her party will have to “wake up and face” the issues that lead to it losing seats to the Greens, independents and the Workers Party of Britain.

Ms Phillips said: “There are some issues with regards to independents and Greens that the Labour Party is going to have to wake up and face tomorrow morning, Monday morning, whenever it is.

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“There are some results in places, you know, Labour heartlands, where they maintain the council, of course, in places like Newcastle where the Greens are making strides.

“I very much expect, as the mayoral votes come in, that in places like Birmingham, Bradford, places with high Muslim populations, as we’ve seen overnight in Oldham, that the Labour Party will have some questions that they have, and some searching to do themselves.

“However, you cannot spin it any other way than this is a good night for the Labour Party.”

Analysis from Sky News shows that areas with a Muslim population below 5% saw the Labour Party’s vote share increase by 1.1 percentage points.

But areas with a Muslim population above 20% saw Sir Keir Starmer’s party lose 17.9 points from their vote share.

Local election results: Follow them as they come in here

Labour are doing worse in areas with higher percentage of Muslims

One of the issues that is thought to be impacting the Muslim vote is Labour’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war.

Labour lost control of councils in Oldham and Kirklees, with victories for independent candidates opposed to the party’s stance on the war in Gaza.

It is hard to crystallise the exact impact on the elections, as a number of Labour councillors have defected from the party over Labour’s stance on the Middle East conflict.

George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain also targeted Labour seats on the issue of Gaza, and won four – including unseating the deputy leader of Manchester council Luthfur Rahman in Longsight.

The BBC reported that Labour were pessimistic about their chances in the race for the West Midlands mayoralty – which covers Ms Phillip’s constituency – with one journalist saying a Labour source told them: “It’s the Middle East, not West Midlands that will have won Street the Mayoralty. Once again Hamas are the real villains.”

This was decried by the Labour Party on the record, with shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth saying: “This is utterly unacceptable. I’m pleased the Labour Party have quickly and rightly condemned it.

“This is a racist quote which has not come from anyone who is speaking on behalf of the party or whose values are welcome in the party.”

Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary, was asked on the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge about whether the party’s stance will change.

She said the party does “recognise” the party’s stance on the conflict has been a “factor in some areas”.

Ms Cooper added there were areas where Gaza was “partly” a factor and there were also “council factors” as well.

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She added: “So it’s lots of different things.

“But undoubtedly many people feel really strongly about this – and rightly because tens of thousands of people have been killed, including the majority of them women and children.

“We desperately need an immediate ceasefire, but we have the hostages released. We need the urgent humanitarian action that’s needed.”

Written by: Newsroom

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