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Sikhs Hope To Influence Over 300 Mps On Back Of Sikh Manifesto

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London 15 April 2015

Following three launch events for the Sikh Manifesto in Southall, Smethwick and in the UK Parliament the Sikh Federation (UK) and Sikh Network has reached out to Gurdwaras and Sikh representatives in different regions.

A series of visits and meetings have taken place in the last four weeks in the North East, Wales, South West and North West on the need to register to vote and how best to use the Sikh Manifesto. Next week Sikh Federation (UK) representatives will complete regional events with a meeting in Scotland.

In September 2014 the Sikh Federation (UK) announced the Sikh Manifesto would be launched in January and the Sikh Network would be established to develop the Sikh Manifesto and consider strategy and progress over the next five years.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), said: We are in the process of helping establish a regional structure for the network that will cover each of the 12 UK regions. If Sikhs in each region, who have been identified, use the full spread of Sikh activists in each region it will be possible to quickly contact over 300 MPs through constituents after the 7 May General Election.

He continued: The initial target was to be able to reach 100-150 politicians, but we have been overwhelmed with support from Gurdwaras and ordinary Sikhs across the country who share our vision and we are now looking at the real possibility of being able to contact and have influence with over 300 MPs.

This will improve lobbying led by the Sikh Federation (UK) in both the UK Parliament and UK MEPs in the European Parliament. The network will be developed and supported so pressure can be systematically exerted on the demands set out in the Sikh Manifesto, relevant local issues concerning the Sikh community and any emerging issues over the next five years. The structure that is being developed will make the Sikh Federation (UK) supported by the Sikh Network unrivalled in the Sikh community in terms of political power and influence.

Irrespective of the outcome of the 7 May General Election and who forms the next UK Government the Sikh Manifesto has completely changed the dynamics between the Sikh community and politicians. The phase after the General Election will be to engage with the next UK Government regarding the issues set out in the Sikh Manifesto. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for UK Sikhs will be established and promises to be one of the largest groups with up to 200 MPs and also one of the most influential. The APPG will be directly supported by the Sikh Federation (UK) and Sikh Network.

In a separate move a tough line will be taken with the main political parties over the next five years so we see several more Sikh Lords at the earliest opportunity and many more Sikhs who are proud to associate themselves with Sikh community issues having the opportunity to enter the House of Commons by securing winnable seats. A small number of MPs, mainly in safe Labour seats have to date shown limited interest in fully committing to the Sikh Manifesto. A Sikh Federation (UK) spokesman said: We will monitor the performance of around a dozen Labour MPs with respect to the Sikh Manifesto over the next two years and if they fail to deliver we will encourage Sikhs to join the local Labour Party in large numbers and we will work with others to de-select some of these MPs and put in place better candidates.

Gurjeet Singh

National Press Secretary

Sikh Federation (UK)

www.sikhfeduk.com |sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk | facebook.com/Sikh Federation UK | twitter @Sikhfeduk

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