Eric Sukumaran aims to become first Malayali-origin MP in UK

An alum of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania, he brings a wealth of experience from the private sector, government, and international institutions.
Eric Sukumaran with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Eric Sukumaran with UK Prime Minister Rishi SunakPhoto | Special Arrangement

KOCHI: Eric Sukumaran is looking to make history. The Malayali emigrant is the Conservative Party’s candidate from Southgate and Wood Green, in London, for the July 4 general election in the United Kingdom. And if elected, the 38-year-old will become the first person of Malayali origin to sit in the House of Commons.

Raised in northeast London, Eric is the son of Attingal-native Joni and Anita Sukumaran, from Varkala.

“My maternal grandfather, Narayanan Viswambaran, arrived in England on July 20, 1969, the same day that man first walked on the Moon! He had very little in terms of possessions, and just two generations later, his grandson is running for parliament,” says Eric, speaking to TNIE by phone.

“I have always wanted to contribute to this country that gave my family so much. I am a Conservative because I believe in its core principles of individual freedom, respect for tradition and the constitution, and the belief in business as the driver of prosperity,” the renewable energy entrepreneur said.

An alum of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), he brings a wealth of experience from the private sector, government, and international institutions. As a former civil servant, he worked on the high-speed rail project, integrating health and social care at the local level, international climate treaties, and even the Brexit negotiations. He later moved to the World Bank, focussing on economic development and climate-related assistance across Africa.

Eric operates his renewable-energy development and advisory business out of both the UK and other international locations. He moved to America to attend UPenn before working in Singapore and New York, where he met his wife, Lindsay.

An ardent follower of Kerala politics, he says, “My father and I have been discussing it constantly for the last 30 years.” Eric adds: “I am aware of all the moves by the LDF and the UDF! I drew a lot of inspiration from Kaviyad Divakara Panicker, a politician I knew and was fond of as a child. He was from my father’s family and a clever politician of great integrity and personal popularity.”

He has big plans as a politician. “My overriding mission in politics is to make energy for people and businesses the cheapest and most sustainable in the world. This will involve a lot of work in expanding our grid and energy infrastructure, building up our battery storage technology, accelerating the green transition without increasing bills, and reforming our overly bureaucratic planning laws. If I can leave the country with cheap, clean energy, the sky is the limit for Britain!” Eric stresses.

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