Muslim Vote Plays Role in Labour Party's Loss of Seats in Election

July 17, 2004

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

On July 17, 2004 The Sydney Morning Herald reported, "British voters have delivered a humiliating rebuke to Tony Blair in two by-elections in supposedly safe Labour seats in the Government's first electoral test after the damning Butler inquiry into Iraq intelligence. Massive swings against Labour cost the party Leicester South and reduced its previous 11,000-majority in Birmingham Hodge Hill to just 460 votes, a 27 per cent swing...Both seats have big Muslim and blue-collar populations that traditionally support Labour, but they appear to have been alienated by the Iraq war and angered by Lord Butler's revelations...The Leicester South result is the second significant by-election victory in a year for the Liberal Democrats, who opposed the war. Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said that if the by-election results were repeated at the next general election they could cost the Government several seats. 'Labour has lost a lot of support because of the war,' he said."