United Kingdom (UK) Current Affairs

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UK Elects its First Female Sikh and First Turban Wearing Sikh as MPs

In a first Preet Kaur Gill has become the first Sikh to be elected to the British Parliament’s House of Commons. Similarly, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi has become the first turban-wearing Sikh to be elected to the House of Commons.

In a first, the House of Commons will have a record 12 Indian-origin MPs, which will be two more than the present record of 10 (five each from Labour and Conservative).

The victories of Preet kaur Gill and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi is considered as a significant milestone for Sikh politicians in United Kingdom in this election. Dhesi and Gill are from the opposition Labour party. While Dhesi has won from the Slough constituency and Gill has won from Birmingham Edgbaston.

Other Indian-Origin Winners

Alok Sharma, who is minister for Asia has retained his Reading West seat. Goa-origin Suella Fernandes (Conservative) and Virendra Sharma have retained their her seats comfortably. Lisa Nandy (Labour) and Seema Malhotra (Labour) have retained their Wigan seat Feltham and Heston seats respectively.


Explained: UK Elections

The following are the characteristic features of the elections conducted in the UK:

Britain is a parliamentary democracy. The government should have the support of a majority of lawmakers in the elected lower chamber of parliament, the House of Commons. Thus, the national election is the election for the House of Commons.

Voters will elect a member of Parliament for their local constituency. Voting is not compulsory in UK. Voter turnout at national elections has seen a decline since the 1950s, when it used to be over 80%.

Britain follows the first-past-the-post electoral system. There is no system of proportional representation for candidates.

Under First Past the Post (FPTP) system, a candidate who gets one vote more than other candidate (who comes second) is declared as winner. In proportional representation, number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received

To form a majority government, a party theoretically must win in 326 out of the 650 regional constituencies. But in practice, a party needs to win only in 323 seats as the Irish republican Sinn Fein party does not take up any seats it wins in Northern Ireland.

The upper house is called as the House of Lords whose members are un-elected.

The monarch (Queen Elizabeth) enjoys the power to dismiss a Prime Minister or to make a personal choice of successor. However, the practice in UK is that the monarch does not exercise this right as its is considered as archaic. This is the practice since 1834. In addition, as a convention, the queen (monarch) does not get involved in party politics.




Times Rich List 2017: Three out of Four Wealthiest in Britain are Indians

As per the Times Rich List 2017, three India-born citizens are among top 5 richest people in Britain. The 29th edition of the Sunday Times Rich List’ released the names of UK’s 1000 wealthiest people including 40 Indian-born citizens.

Hinduja Brothers Srichand and Gopichand have topped the list to become the top of 134 billionaires in the country. The Hinduja borthers has estimated assets worth 16.2 billion pounds. Their investments in various industries include oil and gas, automotive, IT, energy, media, banking, property and healthcare sectors.

The Mumbai-born David and Simon Reuben has been placed at the third position in this year’s list with a net estimate of approximately 14 billion pounds. The Reuben brothers made their wealth with lucrative property deals. The Reuben brothers were holding the first place in the previous editions list.

The famous steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has jumped up seven spots in this edition’s list to reach the fourth spot this year. His net worth is estimated to be approximately 13.23 billion pounds.

This year’s list features a total of 40 Indian-origin people in the rankings. The other prominent Indians in the list include Gujarati brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa of Euro Garages at 133rd position and Lord Swraj Paul, an NRI with an estimated fortune of 600 million pounds at 194th position. Interestingly, in this year’s edition, there is not even a single Briton among the top 5 wealthiest Britains.

Overall, the billionaires in the United Kingdom are far richer than before as it is held widely that the billionaires reaped benefits from Brexit boom. The assets of UK’s top 500 people and families in this edition are much more than the last year’s wealthiest 1,000. However, the list compiler has stated that the revival in the stock market to be the reason behind the growth of fortunes.

The second place in the list was allotted to the Ukrainian businessman Len Blavatnik. Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosevenor, has been ranked 9th with assets worth 9.52 billion pounds.

The Sunday Times Rich List is a list of the 1,000 wealthiest people updated annually in April. It is published by British national Sunday newspaper since 1989.  Apart from the British citizens, the List also includes individuals and families born overseas who predominantly work or live in Britain.