Kottayam's Sojan Joseph adds glitter to Labour win in UK

Sojan Joseph. Photo: Special arrangement.

Labour party's upswing in the UK general elections 2024 also got a push from a Keralite in Ashford, one of the constituencies in Kent. While Labour party made huge gains across various constituencies under Kent, Sojan Joseph from Kottayam district, the Labour party candidate in Ashford constituency, defeated Damien Green of the Conservative and Unionist party with a majority of 1779 votes. Six candidates contested in the Ashford constituency. Sojan Joseph recorded a vote share of 32.5 per cent marking an increase of 8.7 percentage points from 2019. 

Sojan Joseph's victory is significant considering that Ashford is a constituency where the Conservatives have been mostly dominant. Ashford is traditionally as blue as they come, with the Conservatives holding the constituency for all but three of the 139 years since it was formed, according to Kent Online. 

Sojan with his wife. Photo: Special arrangement

He is currently a borough councillor representing Aylesford and East Stour ward. He is a mental health nurse who has worked in the National Health Service (NHS) for 22 years and is currently employed as head of nursing, quality and patient safety. He started his NHS career at the Arundel unit based in the William Harvey hospital as a junior nurse. In his statement to the voters he has said that the MP for Ashford should be visible and should stand up for the community.

Back in his ancestral home at Onamthuruthu, near Ettumanoor, it was celebration time. All the family members gathered at the house, closely following election results. Once the results were announced, they distributed sweets. ''It was a close fight and we all were tense. His rival was a deputy Prime Minister. When we got the message confirming his victory, we all were so thrilled. We are waiting for his call,'' said Joseph Palathinkal, brother-in-law of Sojan Joseph.

Sojan's father Joseph celebrates son's victory with relatives in Ettumanoor. Photo: Special arrangement

Sojan went to the UK in 2001. His wife Brita is working as a nurse in the UK. She is from Irinjalakuda. Sojan's sister Siby Joseph is also in London. His father C T Joseph Chamakalayil was also excited to hear his son's electoral victory in the UK. Sojan was in Kerala to observe his mother Elikutty's first death anniversary in March. Sojan has two daughters and a son -- Hannah, Sara and Mathew.

This year a review by the Boundary commission for England has led to revision of boundaries of county's constituencies. Ashford constituency was split as Ashford and new seat called the Weald of Kent. Ashford has an electorate of 73,546 people.

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