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Uma Kumaran Makes History as First Tamil Woman Elected to British Parliament

Uma Kumaran, the daughter of a couple who sought refuge in the United Kingdom after fleeing Sri Lanka at the height of the civil war, made history on Friday by becoming the first Tamil woman to enter the British Parliament.

Born and raised in London, Uma Kumaran is the first-ever Member of Parliament for Stratford and Bow. Her parents, who hailed from Jaffna in the war-torn northern province of Sri Lanka, came to London in the 1980s and have deep connections with trade unions.

A member of the Labour Party, Uma Kumaran received over 19,000 votes, defeating her nearest rival by more than 12,000 votes.

With 14 months of experience working for NHS Professionals, Kumaran has also served as a parliamentary researcher and caseworker for Labour MP Dawn Butler, collaborating with several party lawmakers. Although she unsuccessfully contested the local body elections in 2010, she went on to become the deputy director of Parliamentary Affairs for Labour Party leader Keir Starmer for over 18 months.

“It is the honour of my life to be elected to serve as the first-ever Member of Parliament for Stratford and Bow. Thank you to all who placed your trust in me and in the Labour Party. I’ll always be your voice and your representative,” she said on Friday after her victory.

London has a significant Tamil population, many of whom are Sri Lankan Tamils who fled the country during the war and settled there.

In a recent interview, Uma Kumaran emphasized that her Labour values are deeply rooted in her family and her upbringing. “My grandad was one of Jaffna’s first Trade Unionists – his dad, my great-granddad, temporarily kicked him out of the house for joining the front of a trade union picket line calling for rights for sanitation workers. Both my grandfathers were civil servants with a strong sense of public service. This ethos runs throughout my family,” she said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin was among the first to congratulate Uma Kumaran on her victory. “Hearty congratulations to @Uma_Kumaran on becoming the first-ever Member of Parliament for Stratford and Bow and the first-ever Tamil woman to become a member of the UK Parliament. You bring great pride to the Tamil community,” he said.

Source: Deccan Herald

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