Labour losing support among British Muslims but it’s not too late to reverse the decline, Muslim group warns

'37% of those surveyed said their view of Labour had become more unfavourable in the past 12 months.'

Keir Starmer

The Labour Party is losing support among British Muslims who feel that they are being taken for granted by the party, but it’s not too late to reverse the trend and win back the community’s support, the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) has said.

It comes after the group published polling earlier in the week which showed support for the party among British Muslims declining along with Keir Starmer’s personal ratings.

According to a poll based on 504 British Muslims, carried out by Survation on behalf of the Labour Muslim Network, 72% of those asked said they identified with Labour and the party had a net favourability rating of +42%.

Worryingly for the party, 37% of those surveyed said their view of Labour had become more unfavourable in the past 12 months, as opposed to 25% whose view of the party had become more favourable, a 12% drop in favourability.

Asked about their views on Keir Starmer, 22% of British Muslims had a favourable attitude towards his leadership, while 29% were unfavourable, giving the Labour leader a net favourability of -7%.

To contrast that with the prime minister, Boris Johnson had a net favourability of -32% among British Muslims, with 20% still holding a favourable attitude towards him, which is almost as high a proportion as Starmer.

Ali Milani, a Labour councillor in Hillingdon and executive member of LMN told LFF that the Muslim vote had been one of the most loyal voter bases that Labour has.

He said: “In 2017 something like 88% of Muslims voted for Labour and even now with the massive decline we have shown there’s still 72% of Muslims saying that they identify with the Labour party.”

However, he warned that many British Muslims feel like the Labour party is ‘resting on its laurels’ and has assumed that the Muslim community will vote for it ‘come what may and that they really have nowhere else to go.’

The decline among Muslim voters will worry the party, given the key upcoming by-election in Batley and Spen in which 20% of voters are Muslim and where the party holds a majority of just 3,525.

Among some of the primary reasons why British Muslim voters had begun turning away from the Labour party according to Milani are the issue of Islamophobia, failing to take a strong moral stance on Palestine, Kashmir and on the prevent scheme.

He said: “When we published that report in November, we showed that one in four Muslim members in the party had directly experienced Islamophobia and I thought after something that stark, I didn’t think the party would need anything else to be spurred into action to tackle Islamophobia.”

The former parliamentary candidate said that while the party was losing support among Muslim communities, there was ‘still time to intervene and work on rebuilding trust’.

He added: “It sometimes feels like the Labour party is embarrassed by its support from Muslims, it’s like it doesn’t want to talk about it publicly, wants to shy away from it and no community would react well to that.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party is committed to a strong relationship with the Muslim community, and in our pursuit of building a better, fairer, more secure future for all, we will continue to robustly stand up for the rights of Muslims everywhere.”

Basit Mahmood is co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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