Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell visit Southall’s Sikh Community as part of European Election Campaign
On Sunday 19thMay, Sikhs for Labour were pleased to welcome the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, to Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall.
The visit was held as part of the year-long celebrations marking Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550thbirth anniversary and to support Labour candidates in the upcoming European Parliament Elections. Jeremy Corbyn had been keen to visit a Gurdwara in this auspicious year for the Sikh community, and he had promised Sikhs for Labour that this would be the first of a number of visits to mark the celebrations.
Neena Gill MEP, Chair of Sikhs for Labour, said, “As the first and only Sikh MEP in the whole of Europe, it is important our European colleagues understand the central role played by Sikhs in the UK, and this visit helps to consolidate that fact within the Labour Party. I particularly welcome the commitment from the Leadership towards encouraging and supporting more Sikhs to be selected and elected to all levels of representation including Police & Crime Commissioners, Council Leaders and Cabinet Members and internally in representative roles and as party officials. We look forward to working with Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and members and officials across the party in all regions to make this a reality.”
Gurinder Singh Josan, Vice Chair of Sikhs for Labour, said, “Sikhs for Labour are extremely grateful to Jeremy and John for making the time for this visit and to the management and congregation at Singh Sabha Southall Gurdwara for being such fabulous hosts. In the run up to the European elections we remember this year marks the 40thanniversary of the death of Blair Peach, a local teacher who stood up for BAME communities defending them against a far-right rally when he was killed. It is entirely fitting that the Labour Party leadership visits the diverse area of Southall and shows it will always stand up to extremism in all of its forms and no matter who the perpetrators may be including those who seek to cloak their extremism with the respectability of the ballot box.”
Jasvir Singh, Treasurer for Sikhs for Labour, said, “We were proud to organise this prestigious visit, and in particular ensure that Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550thbirth anniversary is marked at all levels of the Labour Party this year.”
The visit was attended by local MPs Seema Malhotra, Virendra Sharma and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi as well as Claude Moraes MEP, Onkar Sahota AM (GLA), Leader of Ealing Council, Cllr Julian Bell, prominent local Councillors, Labour Party activists and many prominent figures from within the Sikh community.
Many issues were raised or referred to by speakers in the public speeches and in discussions with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. These included an explanation of Sikh values and core principles and their application and relevance to UK public life, the importance of improving Sikh representation in UK public life and particularly within the Labour Party as well as other current issues of importance to Sikhs and matters relating to Brexit and the European elections.