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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

UK General elections - Rishi Sunak contesting from Richmond (Yorks)

General elections are to be held tomorrow in United Kingdom [i.e. on 7th May 2015] – postal votes have been made already – to elect the 56th Parliament of UK.  The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011  led to the mandated dissolution of the 55th Parliament on 30 March 2015 and the scheduling of the election on 7 May, the House of Commons not having voted for an earlier date.   There are local elections scheduled to take place on the same day across most of England, with the exception of Greater London.

Richmond (Yorks) is a constituency  in North Yorkshire represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 1989 by William Hague, a Conservative.  North Yorkshire is a county, located in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England.  The constituency presents itself as a safe seat for the Conservative Party, having held it continuously since 1910 (if including the 11 years by the allied Unionist Party from 1918), and in the 2010 general election, Richmond produced the largest numerical and percentage majority for a Conservative, 62.8% of the vote. The current MP William Hague, has held the seat since a by-election in 1989 and has held the posts of Leader of the Opposition (1997–2001), Foreign Secretary (2010–2014) and Leader of the House of Commons (2014-).

In United Kingdom -  voting takes place in all parliamentary constituencies to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament.  Each parliamentary constituency elects one MP to the House of Commons using the "first past the post" system. If one party obtains a majority of seats, then that party is entitled to form the Government. If the election results in no single party having a majority, then there is a hung parliament.

Although the Conservative Party planned the number of parliamentary seats to be reduced from 650 to 600,  it did not happen; the  next boundary review is now set to take place in 2018; thus the 2015 general election will be contested using the same constituencies and boundaries as in 2010. Of the 650 constituencies, 533 are in England, 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland.  The election sees the first cap on spending by parties in individual constituencies during the 100 days before Parliament's dissolution on 30 March: £30,700, plus a per-voter allowance of 9p in county constituencies and 6p in borough seats.   This will be the first UK general election using individual rather than household voter registration.

This post is about an Indian in  the fray – a famous one at that – son-in-law of  Mr Narayan Murthy of Infosys.   MailOnline reports that the Conservative Party has fielded the Oxford and Stanford educated  Sunak from Richmond (Yorks) for the upcoming British general elections on Thursday.

Indian tech titan N R Narayana Murthy's son-in-law Rishi Sunak is all set to fill in heavyweight Tory leader and former foreign minister William Hague's large shoes. Hague, who stepped down from active politics last July, is the local MP here - known as an "ultra-safe Conservative seat".  A geographically massive constituency that covers a vast swathe of rural North Yorkshire, the Conservatives have had a field run here in past elections. In the 2010 elections with Hague as its candidate, Tories won 63% of the vote share here followed by Lib Dems who got only 19% of the votes.  While the Conservatives won 33,541 votes, Lib Dems won only 10,205 followed by Labour which won 8,150 votes.

Sunak’s  opponents include Labour party candidate and trade union leader Mike Hill, Lib Dem candidate and teacher John Harris and UKIP accountant Matthew Cooke.  An ardent fan of cricket and movies, Sunak who co-founded a large investment firm, working with companies from Silicon Valley to Bangalore was born in Hampshire and educated at Winchester College and Oxford University.  Experts say that winning from this seat is bound to put Sunak into the limelight and may also catapult him into a ministerial role if the David Cameron led Conservative Party return to power post May 7. 

Most of Sunak's constituency are small villages and hamlets - the only towns being that of Northallerton, Richmond, Stokesley and Leyburn.  The local economy relies upon agriculture and tourism and is therefore the focus of Sunak's campaigning. Sunak says he will stand up for the farmers of his constituency and "fight to relieve the costly burden of EU regulation. Farmers have to contend with complicated new greening requirements, helpful pesticides being banned, burdensome electronic sheep tags that don't even work and burial requirements that are outdated.

One of Sunak's main campaigning points is supporting the local Friarage Hospital. Impressing voters by saying "community healthcare is in my blood," Sunak who grew up in a NHS household - his dad is a GP and mother a local chemist, said "Friarage hospital is a much-loved local institution that employs over a 1000 people and provides vital healthcare services. I will push NHS executives and lobby hard to ensure the hospital remains a strong provider of health care services in our area". Sunak also promises to boost small and medium size businesses of North Yorkshire by lowering taxes, reforming business rates, reducing regulation, incentivising investment, rewarding innovation and ensuring affordable finance. He has also made better mobile and broadband services in the constituency a key priority.

Hague said "I've been hearing many people saying how well Rishi has been getting to know the area, knocking on doors and listening to local people. He is an exceptional individual and I believe he will be a strong and effective advocate for our community".
Are the elections in  UK anyway different that the ones we have here   !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th May 2015.

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