Muslim advocacy organisations in the United Kingdom, in their push to encourage Muslims to take part in the upcoming General Elections, have released data showing the impact that the Muslim vote could have, to the extent that they hold the “balance of power” in marginal seats.
MEND has created a spreadsheet that shows the data for the top 50 seats across the country with a high Muslim ratio. The Muslim Council of Britain has also released data on 31 marginal seats in which Muslim voters could have “high” or “medium” impact.
Marginal seats are parliamentary constituencies that are usually not considered a ‘safe’ seat by any of the political parties because they have a history of electing different parties, or because the incumbent MP has a very small majority. The risk and potentiality of these marginal seats means that parties often invest in more campaigning resources in these constituencies, since they are most likely to sway the balance in the House of Commons.
Examples of this are the constituencies of Dudley North, where the former Labour party member Ian Austin has a majority of 22, and Richmond Park, where Conservative Zac Goldsmith is defending a majority of 45. In both these cases, Muslim votes could have high impact because 4% of the voting age population is Muslim, which is more than 70 times the majority of the sitting MP. A number of these MPs who hold marginal seats have engaged in Islamophobic behaviour, including Zac Goldsmith who was accused of using dog whistle politics in an Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan in the 2016 London mayoral race, and Bob Blackman (Harrow East) who posted an anti-article on his Facebook page.
As part of its drive to increase Muslim voter participation, the Muslim Council of Britain also organised the first national Muslim voter registration day, which took place this past Friday 22nd November.