LONDON: An Indian-origin doctor of the Labour party scored a major upset after narrowly winning the Ealing and Hillingdon seat from the former Conservative Deputy Mayor of London in the Assembly elections here.
Labour's Dr Onkar Singh Sahota beat Richard Barnes of the Conservative party by a narrow 3,110 votes. Sahota finished with 65,584 while Barnes got 62,474.
Michael Francis Cox, Liberal Democrat, came third with 11,805 votes only narrowly finishing ahead of the Green Party's Mike Harling who finished with 10,877.
Barnes became Deputy Mayor of London in 2008. Sahota said his election was a "clear message to the Conservative-led government that the policies they have adopted are not acceptable to the people."
"The Government has dismantled the NHS, the National Health Service, despite opposition from all professional groups. As I am a practicing doctor, I made the NHS, a big issue in my election campaign and the Government's policy has been rejected by the electorate," he said.
"I also made Ealing Hospital a big issue and I hope that my victory will be the first step to ensuring it is saved," he added.
Labour MP Virendra Sharma, representing Ealing Southall, said "Dr Sahota's is a historic victory. It is a victory of local community people. It is for the first time in the history of London Assembly elections a local Southall-born and brought up person got elected to the London Assembly."
Julian Bell, Leader of the Labour Party said "It was a great victory. We had to climb a mountain but every body in the Labour party in Ealing and Hellingdon united together and worked hard to get every last labour voter to the polling station. We reached the summit and got Onkar elected. It is an important message for the Government that they must not close the Ealing Hospital. We must protect the NHS."
Hari Singh, Founder Chairman of the H S Law Solicitors who had campaigned vigorously for Sahota described it as a "historic victory."
He said the Labour has snatched the seat for the first time from the Conservatives in over two decades.