Election 2015

Britain gains first ethnic Chinese MP

Alan Mak, new Conservative MP for Havant Image copyright Conservative Party

British voters have elected their first MP of ethnic Chinese origin, after Alan Mak won the seat of Havant in southern England for the Conservatives.

He replaces David Willetts as MP for the safe Conservative seat, securing a majority of 13,920 over UKIP.

The 31-year-old was born in Britain and grew up in York, where his Chinese-born parents ran a takeaway.

Mr Mak was the first member of his family to go to university, studying law at Cambridge.

He subsequently went on to a career in corporate law and ran his own business.

Asked by a reporter from the BBC Chinese service how he felt at being the first British MP from the Chinese community, Mr Mak said his priority was to represent the people of Havant.

'No big deal'

In a pre-election interview with Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, the politician was keen to downplay the importance of his family's origins:

"This is modern Britain.

"Having a Chinese-looking person stand for parliament and becoming an MP is not a story," he said.

"It's no big deal."

In a 2012 interview with photographer Mike Tsang, Mr Mak said his parents were originally from rural Guangdong in southern China.

They had made huge sacrifices for their children and were "a great inspiration", he said.

According to the 2011 census, ethnic Chinese made up 0.7% of the population of England and Wales.

While Mr Mak is the first Chinese or East Asian elected to the House of Commons, he is not the first member of a UK parliamentary body from those ethnic groups.

Anna Lo - born in Hong Kong - served in the Northern Ireland Assembly, but has stood down, partly because of racist abuse.

Social entrepreneur Lord Wei (Nat Wei) is a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

Britain's first South Asian MP, Dadabhai Naoroji, was elected in 1892.

Image caption Anna Lo has stood down as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly