• Sunday, June 23, 2024


Report: Ethnic minority votes to play key role in UK polls

Southall is one of six seats where more than 50 per cent of the constituency is Asian

By: Sarwaralam

The ethnic minority vote will play a key role for all major political parties in the snap general election on June 8, according to a new research.

Operation Black Vote (OBV), a leading advocacy group for wider representation of the black and minority ethnic (BME) communities in British politics, found in its Power of the Black Vote in 2017 analysis that the ruling Conservatives, Opposition Labour and the Liberal Democrats need the BME vote to win in their target seats.

The BME electorate is significantly larger than the majority in seven of those 10 seats and the Indian population is larger than 15 per cent in 15 seats, including eight marginal seats, the report concludes.

It found that the top 10 most marginal seats, or constituencies with a very slim majority for the sitting MP leaving it up for grabs for all parties, have a BME electorate larger than the majority of the MP who was elected there in the 2015 general election.

“We found that the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats need the BME vote in 2017 to win their targets. Even considering current polling showing Theresa Mays party ahead, failure to take a major slice of the BME vote could mean her Commons majority is much lower than predicted,” OBV said.

“For Labour, holding onto the BME vote in 2017 is crucial… 34 marginal Labour seats rely very heavily on keeping the same BME vote as last time,” the group adds.

The report concludes that the Labour party could seriously reduce the Conservatives majority by holding onto their share of BME voters and the Tories could seal a comprehensive victory by winning over more BME citizens.

According to the analysis, which way the BME vote goes will have a big impact on the final tally as almost half (96) of the top 200 most marginal seats have BME populations large enough to help determine the results in those constituencies.

“There are six seats where the Asian population is over 50 per cent of the constituency, Leicester East, Ilford South, Bradford West, East Ham, Brent North and Ealing Southall… Harrow West and Harrow East (in London) are both marginals with very large Asian populations (42 per cent and 45 per cent respectively). One is Labour, the other is Conservative,” the report notes.

“Other seats where there is an Asian population large enough to have a significant impact include Brentford & Isleworth, and Hendon, both in the capital, and Dewsbury in Yorkshire.”

Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote, said: “Britain is at a crossroads on Brexit, immigration, and British identity. How these issues play out in this snap election will determine the country’s direction for a generation.”

“The key question is to what extent will black and minority ethnic communities be involved in this debate?”

The OBV analysis came as the group joined other race equality bodies in Britain to launch a “Manifesto for Race Equality in Britain” this week.

The manifesto, which has been launched by a coalition of around 20 race equality campaign groups, includes policy proposals to tackle racial inequalities in the jobs market, housing, and criminal justice.

Omar Khan, Director of the Runnymede Trust, said: “Given the persistence and extent of racial inequalities we need the next government to have an actual plan to reduce racial inequalities, not just warm words.

“With post-Brexit Britain raising existential questions about who we are, we also need the next government to affirm that race equality is a core British value and that minorities wont see their rights and protections weakened.”

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