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UEL graduate Preet Kaur Gill becomes first female Sikh MP

Ms Gill one of three UEL alumnae elected to Parliament

University of East London (UEL) graduate Preet Kaur Gill has become the first-ever female Sikh to serve as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the UK.

Ms Gill, 44, won her seat in Birmingham Edgbaston for Labour with 24,124 votes – nearly 7,000 more than her nearest competitor, Conservative Caroline Squire.

Ms Gill graduated from UEL with a first-class degree in Sociology and Social Work. 

She told the BBC, “It’s a real privilege to be representing the people and the place where I was born and raised and lived. My family lived here. I’m in the constituency. I’m really excited to learn more and connect with communities. It’s a huge place, four wards, very different in its makeup, and I want to build those relationships.”

Her historic victory garnered headlines during a tumultuous election that saw the Conservatives lose their overall majority on a gamble snap election called three years early. The government must now deal with major uncertainty as it heads into negotiations to withdraw from the European Union.

Ms Gill has pledged to make the NHS, education, jobs, policing and funding for local infrastructure and services her priorities.

She has spent the past two decades working in social care in the West Midlands, and is currently Director of Spring Social Housing Board, which works with populations in need of housing.  

She has also been a Councillor at the Sandwell Council since 2012, and has served on public bodies including the Midlands Joint Advisory Council for Clean Air and Noise Control; Midland Joint Advisory Council for Environmental Protection; West Midlands Combined Authority Board and West Midlands Police and Crime Panel.

Ms Gill’s website proudly declares that she is “the daughter of a bus driver”. 

Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of the Sikh Federation, told the BBC, "We are delighted to have the first Sikh woman MP in Preet Kaur Gill in Birmingham, Edgbaston.

"She will be a fantastic MP, a credit to the Sikh community and an excellent role model."

UEL now has three alumnae in Parliament, all representing Labour. Kate Osamor, MP for Edmonton, and Dr Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, were both re-elected.