Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Conservatives and ethnic minority voters: how the Immigration Bill might not help

Policy Exchange’s report on the face of modern Britain this morning is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the way this country has changed and will change in years to come. But it is especially fascinating reading for those wondering how on earth the Conservative party can appeal to ethnic minority voters. This is partly because it makes quite clear that the party is currently not appealing to those voters: indeed, while politicians have a bad habit of lumping ‘ethnic minority’ voters together without good cause, the one thing that does lump these groups together is a reluctance to vote Conservative. The killer facts in the report on political engagement are as follows:

  • All minority groups overwhelmingly identify with and vote for the Labour party, with 68 per cent of minorities voting Labour in 2010, and just 16 per cent and 14 per cent backing the Conservatives and the Lib Dems respectively.
  • Indian voters are most likely to back the Conservatives, at 24 per cent, which is four times the proportion of Black African people likely to vote for the Tories at just 6 per cent.
  • The aversion to the Conservatives among ethnic minority voters is the same regardless of class, natural conservative convictions or whether those voters have recently arrived in this country.

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Why are so many ethnic minority voters switched off the Conservatives? Paul Goodman offers some thoughts here, while Sajid Javid told James earlier this year that ‘the damage that was done to the party’s image in the 1970s, particularly by Enoch Powell, is something we still haven’t been able to shake off’, and called for the Prime Minister to make clear in a speech that Powell ‘doesn’t represent what the Conservative party is today in any way and to set out what the Conservative party actually is when it comes to race relations, multiculturalism and so forth’.

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