12 June 2017

It isn’t just young people who have turned to Labour. Muslims have too

Muslim voters had the potential to affect the outcome of 33 swing seats in which the Conservative party was first or second – and in all bar one, there was a swing of well over 10% towards the Labour party (compared with a national swing of about 2%). Not only did the Tories fail to win even one of these seats held by Labour, they lost eight of the 12 marginals where they were the incumbent party.

The pull of Jeremy Corbyn’s broader anti-austerity message “for the many, not the few”, appears to have been a key driver for that result, striking a chord among many Muslims for whom public services and decreasing inequality are key priorities. His success with young voters would also disproportionately affect Muslim communities, given that half the British Muslim population is under the age of 25.

Yet we cannot ignore other Muslim-specific issues that may have played a role in pushing Muslims away from the Conservative party.

On the key issue of Islamophobia, the party appears to have ignored the huge increase in hate crime against Muslims on its watch. During the election campaign, when Amber Rudd (who has retained her position as home secretary) was asked how to stop ill-feeling towards Muslims on the ITV’s Peston on Sunday, she said: “We need to do more to prevent grooming in these communities” – a worrying victim-blaming approach to tackling hate crime. [Guardian Cif] Read more