British Election 2015

Politician Alan Mak makes history as first Chinese elected to British parliament

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 May, 2015, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 May, 2015, 4:44pm

In a landmark victory, an ethnic Chinese candidate has been elected to the British Parliament - the first in its 800-year history.

Alan Mak, who is of Chinese-Malaysian background, retained the Conservative party seat of Havant in South West England with more than 51 per cent share of the votes cast.

Some 11 candidates of Chinese heritage ran in the May 7 election. About 400,000 ethnically Chinese people live in Britain.

As expected, Mak’s win was a shoo-in, with the seat considered a stronghold for Conservative voters. He picked up 23,159 votes, increasing his share of the votes compared to his predecessor, former minister David Willetts.

In the early hours this morning, at around 4am, the anti-immigration, anti-European Union UK Independence Party (Ukip) came a distant second with 9,239 votes.

Meanwhile, Labour emerged with 7,149 votes followed by the Liberal Democrats, pushed into fourth place, followed by the Greens.

In a previous interview with Post Magazine, Mak said he cares little for his ethnic identity, preferring to focus more on the "bigger and more important" issues.

He also dismissed as naive the belief that his victory would mean the party would better address the needs of the 500,000 or so British Chinese and East Asians, the country's third-largest ethnic group.

"And I certainly have no interest in what people in Hong Kong or China think of me, because I am not representing them. I am representing the people of Havant," he said in the Post Magazine interview.

Seven ethnic Chinese candidates ran in the last general election in 2010 and none won a seat.

While Chinese have already made a mark in British politics - including Anna Manwah Lo, who won a Northern Ireland Assembly seat in 2007, and Nathanael Wei Ming-yan, who sits in Britain's House of Lords - some maintain it is winning a House of Commons seat that would break the mould, the magazine reported.

In another victory for the history books, Scottish nationalist candidate Mhairi Black, 20, became Britain’s youngest MP since 1667. 

Black still has to complete her final exams at Glasgow University but will now be putting her politics degree into practice as the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

 The no-nonsense blonde, who pronounces her first name “Mary”, won a majority of over 5,000 in Thursday’s election to topple Douglas Alexander, the Labour party’s 47-year-old foreign affairs spokesman and campaign chief.

READ MORE: The Scottish lion has roared: Nationalists rampage to victory in Britain setting stage for new battle for independence

Exit polls upended pre-election forecasts of a knife-edge contest between the Conservatives and Labour, and also pointed to a landslide for Scottish nationalists. This could reopen the question of Scotland breaking away from the United Kingdom.

The exit polls put Nigel Farage’s Ukip on  two seats, the same figure as the Greens.

The first declared results showed the Labour Party failing in key marginals and losing out to the pro-independence Scottish National Party, which was predicted  to take all but one of the 59 seats north of the border.

The head of the Scottish Labour Party Jim Murphy also lost his seat to the SNP.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives looked on course for a surprise victory in the election, which could herald more economic austerity and redefine the country’s future in  Europe.

The poll commissioned by Britain’s national broadcasters put the centre-right Conservatives on 316 seats, compared to 239 for Ed Miliband’s centre-left Labour party.

One of the biggest losers of the night appeared to be the Liberal  Democrats, who were in coalition with the Conservatives in the outgoing government but who were suffering a drubbing in early returns.

While they do not give the Conservatives a clear majority, if the results  are borne out they could put Britain on a collision course with the European  Union as Cameron has promised an in-out referendum on membership.

The Conservatives do not look to have the clear majority of 326 seats in  the House of Commons but the results, if confirmed, would put Cameron in a  strong position to remain in power, potentially as leader of a minority  government working with smaller parties.

Professor Patrick Dunleavy of the London School of Economics said the exit  polls indicated that Cameron “looks like he’s there for five years” - the full  length of a parliamentary term in Britain.

“The paradox is David Cameron survives as prime minister but prime minister  of a minority government which doesn’t have the votes to do anything radical,”  he added.

If the Conservatives do fall short of a clear majority, they would have to  team up with a smaller party or parties such as the Liberal Democrats or  Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists to take power.

Labour could still attempt to put together an alternative alliance with the  SNP and other left-leaning parties but, if the exit polls are borne out, the  Conservatives could claim significant moral authority as the biggest party by  far.

Under Britain’s electoral system, a party needs to be able to command a  majority in the 650-seat House of Commons in order to form a government.