Sikh candidate champions British values
A controversial religious campaigner has vowed to champion 'British values with a Sikh ethos' as he launched his General Election campaign for the Black Country's most marginal seat.
Prison chaplain Jagmeet Singh will contest Wolverhampton South West as an independent candidate.
He has hit out at the lack of representation of his religion in Parliament and has pledged to be the first 'turban wearing bearded Sikh' in the House of Commons.
Mr Singh rose to national prominence in 2015 when he used a live television appearance to launch a protest about the lack of media coverage of violence against Sikh's in the Punjab.
It led to him being threatened with ejection from the BBC's Sunday Morning Live programme by host Sian Williams.
Mr Singh, aged 35, said: "I felt it was my public duty to speak up over a very important issue.
"It was an example of me speaking truth to power, which is precisely the way I will be running my campaign in Wolverhampton."
Mr Singh is a former staff member of educational charity Basics of Sikhi, and now works as a relief chaplain in HMP Birmingham.
The father-of-one is originally from London and lived in American for a decade before moving to Wednesfield.
He said he has chosen to fight the Wolverhampton South West constituency as he believes the area has been 'badly let down for years' by Conservative and Labour politicians.
"I firmly believe that the views of the people are not being represented," he said.
"In a healthy democracy we should have more variety as far as our politicians are concerned. The Conservatives and Labour have done a very good job of making people apathetic towards politics.
"I want to spread a positive message based around championing British values with a Sikh ethos."
Wolverhampton South West was won by Labour's Rob Marris in 2015 with a slender majority of 801.
Conservative Paul Uppal, who came second on that occasion, is back to contest the seat, with Labour's Eleanor Smith replacing the retired Mr Marris.
Mr Singh says he hopes to appeal to 'people from all backgrounds' and believes he has 'an excellent chance' of defying the odds at the June 8 poll.
"I certainly believe we can record a magnificent victory and put the first turban wearing bearded Sikh in the House of Commons," he said.
"At the moment Parliament is unrepresentative of the British people and I want to change that."