The local council and mayor have a direct impact on the day to day life of Muslims. Amongst other things, they have oversight on education, libraries, social services, local planning, consumer protection, licensing, and cemeteries.
Since its inception, the council for the London borough of Newham has been under Labour control. As of 2 May 2002, the council has been led by a directly elected local mayor. The 2010 local election was on the 6 May. The next election is in 2014.
How they voted
From the 60 seats, Labour won all 60 seats in the council. Overall, 275960 people voted; 51% of the electorate. 65% voted for Labour, 19% for the conservatives, 8% for the Christian Alliance, 3% for the Liberal Democrats, 3% for the Respect Party and 2% for independent candidates. Labour gained 6 seats from the Christian Alliance (3 seats) and Respect (3 seats).
Labour, Conservatives, and the Christian Alliance contested all the wards whilst the Liberal Democrats contested 7 wards, Respect contested 5 wards, and the Greens contested Forest Gate North. Only 6 of the wards were not contested by independent candidates (Beckton, Canning Town South, Custom House, East Ham North, East Ham South, Green Street West, Royal Docks and Stratford).
As with many deprived areas, the resident mostly favour leftist parties or more specifically Labour (Avg, 21.8% per ward, SD 2.4%). In Newham dissatisfied voters do not naturally vote Liberal democrat (Avg. 5.1% per ward, SD 1.5%) although they may be gaining some traction with the Hindus. Christian dissatisfied voters seem to have chosen the Christian Alliance (Avg. 2.8% per ward, SD 2%) whilst Muslims have chosen the Respect party (Avg. 5.2% per ward, SD 1.9%). The conservative attempted to maximise their votes also by selecting candidates representative of the local voters (Avg. 6.3% per ward, SD 2.1%).
Canning Town South (27%), and North (15%), Custom House (18%) have the strongest Christian Alliance support whilst Green Street East (13%). and West (24%), Little Ilford (14%), and Plaistow North (11%) have the strongest Respect support. The Christian Alliance have a concentration in the south-west region of Newham whilst Respect on the central and East of Newham. The Greens made some gains in Forest Gate North (6% with one candidate). The Liberal democrat are disparate with some gains in Wall End (11%), Beckton (12%), East Ham North (15%) and Plaistow North (9%). The Conservatives have performed quite evenly in all the boroughs with no significant gains except in Royal Docks (37%).
According to the 2001 census, Muslims represented 24.3% of Newham’s population. This no doubt has increased as is indicative in the 2011 census. Out of the 220 candidates who run for office approximately 48 were Muslims. That is 21.8% a few percentiles below the representative population. Furthermore, they are mostly concentrated around the North East of Newham namely Little Ilford, Manor Park, East Ham North, Forest Gate North and South, Green Street East and West, Boleyn and Plaistow North which contains 33.3%, 36.2%, 43.9%, 17.8%, 28.4%, 41.8%, and 47.3% of Muslim respectively. This is 64.5% of the Muslims in and 15.6% of Newham.
Although, Beckton (18.5%) has been addressed adequately but surprising Labour neglected Wall End (26.9%) and East Ham Central (31.8%). The conservatives made a concerted effort with two Muslim candidates at East Ham central but they left Wall End with the Liberal Democrats beating two of the conservative candidates with a Muslim candidate. These places represent above 9766 (16%) Muslim. Since there is one councilor to every 4065 (usually elected with 3000) there is an argument for Muslim representation especially in East Ham Central which has above 3872 Muslims.
The West of Newham and East Ham South has been abandoned by the major parties with the exception only one Muslim candidate running for the conservatives in Canning Town South (8.6%); his result (721) was similar to the other conservatives (794 and 858) and one CPA candidate (892). Canning Town South was Alan Craig’s (CPA leader) ward.
In 2001 there was 11268 in what was once the county borough of West Ham minus Green Street West, Plaistow North. This is 5% of Newham overall and 19% of the Muslims in Newham.
Parties and nominees
As the Muslims represent more than 24.3% of Newham, 15 of the 60 elected candidates should be Muslim to be broadly representative. The major parties, namely Labour and Conservative, should have at the least 15 Muslim nominees altogether, spread across the wards containing a significant amount of Muslim. Stratford, Wall End and East Ham Central
Labour had 12 Muslim nominees which accounted for 20% of their total candidates. This was 4% below the Muslim representation. Although, all got elected the spread was not optimal as stated above. All the other parties had good representation with the exception of Greens and CPA which had none. The conservative had 19 (32.2%), Liberal Democrats had 3 (30%), Respect had 8 (67.7%) Muslim nominees and there was 6 (31.6%) independent Muslim candidates.
There is one candidate allocated for every 1.6% of Newham. Alternatively, there is be one candidate for every 33.3% of the ward. Accordingly, based on the 2001 census, there should one candidate every 6.7% of Muslims. Ideally, there should be at least one elected representatives in the following 14 wards; Beckton, Boleyn, East Ham Central, East Ham North, Forest Gate North, Forest Gate South, Green Street East, Green Street West, Little Ilford, Manor Park, Plaistow North, Stratford and New Town, Wall End. Plaistow South and West Ham should arguably also have an elected representative. An argument also can be made for additional elected representatives for Green Street East, West, and Newham North. Furthermore, as the West of Newham (the old county borough of West Ham region) should have at least 3 Muslim nominees as it contains 19% of the Muslims.
Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
11 Safar 1434 (After Isha)
25 December 2012
Citation key: 121225501