What does the general election mean for Jewish MPs?

Jewish areas set to swing Labour as parties prepare for their election crusades


Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria Starmer, who is Jewish (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The general election will be on July 4, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced today.

The snap decision follows months of speculation and will ignite candidates and parties into furious campaign trails.

After 14 years of Conservative rule, the Labour Party has surged ahead in the polls. Current predictions suggest that Labour will win a whopping 472 seats and the Tories might shrink to as few as 85 MPs according to polling aggregator Electoral Calculus.

Labour needs 326 seats to form a majority, but polling puts them way ahead of this number.

Data suggests that seats in some of the UK’s most Jewish areas will switch Tory to Labour.

In Finchley and Golders Green, Labour’s Sarah Sackman is predicted to win Mike Freer’s seat. In Hertsmere, Oliver Dowden’s seat might swing Labour. The same can be said for seats in Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, Essex and Harrow. In Hendon, David Pinto-Duschinsky is predicted to swing the seat for Labour. In Manchester, the Bury South MP, Christian Wakeford, crossed the chamber from Tory to Labour back in 2022, his seat may well stay Labour.

Several Jewish Tories are predicted to lose their seat, while Labour’s Jewish candidates will be mounting fierce campaigns to reach parliament.

In Welwyn Hatfield, Jewish cabinet minister Grant Shapps’s seat is set to swing Labour. The same is predicted for Dominic Raab’s seat in Surrey. Robert Halfon said he would stand down at the next election and his Harlow seat is also predicted to turn red.

Lucy Frazer’s South East Cambridgeshire seat is predicted to turn Liberal Democrat.

Meanwhile, Tom Tugendhat is forecast to hold onto his Tory seat of Tonbridge and Malling in Kent.

Damien Egan became the latest Jewish MP to enter Parliament when he overturned a large Conservative majority at the Kingswood by-election in February; he is likely to hold onto the seat. Labour’s Charlotte Nichols is also predicted to hold onto her seat in Warrington, as are Fabian Hamilton and Alex Sobel, who both serve as Labour MPs in Leeds. Boundary changes will impact a lot of Labour target seats, including Sobel’s.

The war in Gaza is likely to be a key foreign policy battleground.

At local council elections, some Labour seats were lost in wards with large Muslim populations; experts suggest this was partly due to the party's stance on Gaza. This pattern could repeat itself at the general election.

A Muslim lobby group formed in the shadow of the war in Gaza hopes to mobilise Muslim communities in the UK. The Muslim Vote will produce a list of anti-Israel candidates that they will encourage the 3.9 million Muslims in the UK to vote for.

The most prominent pledge from the Muslim Vote is “Peace in Palestine: Ceasefire, sanction Israel, and a state for the Palestinians.” The group wants to deny visas to Israeli politicians and IDF personnel and is calling for sanctions against Israeli companies.

While Labour insiders assured JC readers at a recent panel event that the party has changed under Sir Keir Starmer's leadership, the antisemitism crisis under Jeremy Corbyn is still remembered.

Jewish voters have also voiced their concern about Labour’s Gaza stance. The party did not initially call for a ceasefire but eventually joined the clamour against the IDF’s actions in Gaza.

This week the party’s shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, caused a stir amongst some Jewish organisations when he backed the ICC’s call for an arrest warrant on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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