British Muslims turning away from Labour

Labour leader Keir Starmer failing to win favour with British Muslims, according to recent poll
3 min read
15 June, 2021
A new poll commissioned by the Labour Muslim Network revealed that Keir Starmer has few supporters among British Muslims, while the Muslim community, traditionally Labour voters, are moving away from The Labour Party.
Labour leader Keir Starmer recently visited Labour's candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election, Kim Leadbeater [Getty]

Labour leader Keir Starmer has failed to win favour with British Muslims according to a recent poll. 

The research was commissioned by the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) and conducted by Survation via 504 telephone interviews with British Muslims. 

The results published on Monday revealed that while the vast majority of British Muslims still identify with The Labour Party - around 72 percent compared to 9 percent who identify with the Conservatives - support for the party dropped by 11 percent from May 2021 compared to the 2019 General Election. 

The most damaging verdict was the lack of support for Keir Starmer among British Muslims, as the new leader scored a net favourability of minus 7 percent. 

"There is a widening gap between British Muslims who identify with The Labour Party and those who support Keir Starmer," Carl Shoben, head of strategic communications at Survation, told The New Arab.

Shoben said support for Starmer was similar to that of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The poll showed net favourability was 22 percent for Starmer and 20 percent for Boris. 

However, Shoben added that "Boris and the Conservatives were equally unpopular" as Boris' overall favourability rating was minus 32 percent among British Muslims. 

"There is also a significant number of British Muslims who are not identifying with any political party," Shoben said. The results revealed a 4 percent rise in respondents who did not identify with any party. Shoben speculated that this may lead to a rise in non-voters among the community.

LMN issued a statement alongside the polling data that said: "For decades the Muslim community have been amongst the most loyal Labour supporters seen anywhere in the United Kingdom. The findings of this opinion poll show the beginning of a fracturing of this relationship."

Labour Councillor for Mile End, Puru Miah, told The New Arab that "Labour has taken these communities for granted [and] not met their concerns".

He said "no one knew what Labour stood for" among Muslims and the wider community.

People are now looking for alternative parties to support, Miah explained, as was seen with backing for an independent mayoral candidate in Tower Hamlet. 

This polling comes just days before a by-election in Batley and Spen on 1 July, an area with a large Muslim population.

Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater is being contested by former MP George Galloway, who is running for the Workers Party for Britain, and has made the violence in Israel-Palestine central to his campaign. 

Ali Milani, a Labour councillor in Hillingdon and LMN executive member, said: "I desperately want the Labour Party to win again. But for us to have a chance to win - in Batley and Spen and around the country - we have to earn the trust and support of Muslim voters once again."