Sri Lankan-origin Uma Kumaran elected to UK Parliament

Uma Kumaran

Uma Kumaran, daughter of Sri Lankan refugees, made history on Friday by becoming the first Tamil woman to enter the British Parliament.

Born and raised in London, she is now the Member of Parliament for Stratford and Bow.

Uma’s parents, originally from Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, fled to London in the 1980s. With a background in trade unions, her family has a history of political involvement.

As a Labour Party member, Uma secured over 19,000 votes, defeating her closest rival by more than 12,000 votes.

Before her parliamentary win, she worked for NHS Professionals for 14 months and served as a parliamentary researcher and caseworker for Labour MP Dawn Butler.

She also held the position of 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 after her victory.

London hosts a significant Tamil population, many of whom are Sri Lankan Tamils who fled during the civil war.

In a recent interview, Uma mentioned, “My grandad was one of Jaffna’s first Trade Unionists – his dad, my great-granddad, kicked him out of the house temporarily for joining the front of a trade union picket line calling for rights for sanitation workers. He was furious, I am told. It wasn’t the done thing in respectable families. Both my grandfathers were civil servants and always had a sense of public service. This runs throughout my family.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin congratulated Uma on her victory, saying, “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.”