Britain general election: Is the minority vote, once Labour's, up for grabs?
In Britain's general election scheduled for May 6, minority voters are expected to have a greater impact than ever before. Conservatives are wooing black and Asian voters – once solidy pro-Labour – with policies they say are family- and business-friendly.
(Page 3 of 3)
Separate statistics underline just why it is in the interest of all three major parties to increase their appeal to ethnic minority voters. Although ethnic minorities are 10 percent of the population, at least 25 parliamentary constituencies exist where more than 40 percent of the population were categorized as being from an ethnic minority in Britain’s 2001 census.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Whether the MPs in the newly elected Parliament come close to reflecting the 10 percent of society who are of ethnic-minority origin is another matter.
Despite the potentially mold-breaking surge in support for the Liberal Democrats during this campaign, voices associated with both Labour and the Tories have suggested that the parties are less than a breath of fresh air when it comes to ensuring that the next Parliament reflects modern Britain.
A report in the left-of-center Guardian newspaper claimed that one consequence of a Liberal Democrat breakthrough would be the squeezing out of high-profile black candidates running for the Tories and Labour.
Only four minority candidates are fighting for one of the Liberal Democrats' top 100 targeted seats, it added.
On the other hand, a separate report in the same paper claimed that Nick Clegg’s party was the only one of the big three to have produced a substantial policy designed to tackle inequality on issues such as Britain’s DNA database, in which people from ethnic minority backgrounds are substantially over-represented.
Mr. Clegg said in an article for the OBV website on Tuesday that he has been concentrating on making the Liberal Democrats more diverse since becoming leader two years ago, but added that none of the major political parties including the Liberal Democrats have "done enough."
He said that he had learned of the 'dangers of intolerance' from his Dutch mother, who spent several years in a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War, while his grandmother had been forced to flee her home in St Petersburg during the Russian Revolution.
Mr Clegg added: "I know that none of the major political parties have done enough to make themselves as diverse as we should be. What we've found is that the problem for the Liberal Democrats isn't really about getting candidates selected for seats - it's getting them to come forward in the first place."
(This story was updated after posting to correct the spelling of Conservative candidate Tim Archer's name.)
Michelle Obama and the Americanization of the Britain general election
Gordon Brown dissolves Parliament, calls Britain general election
David Cameron releases Tory manifesto ahead of UK general election