Minority vote to become decisive in 2015 election
A new report published Monday morning by the cross-party racial justice group, Operation Black Vote (OBV), has found that the black and minority ethnic (BME) vote could have a huge impact on the next general election.
The report, entitled “The Power of the Black Vote in 2015”, argues that as a result of a growing BME population and the emergence of more marginal seats, the influence of BME voters will be greater than ever.
Researchers discovered that there were 168 marginal seats across England and Wales where BME voters outnumber the majority held by the incumbent MP. This effectively means that BME voters could decide the fate of more than one in four seats at the next general election.
The director of OBV, Simon Woolley, heralded the research saying: “This is great news for BME communities and democracy. Many individuals feel powerless, particularly in the face of rising racial tension and the apparent inability by political parties to acknowledge persistent race inequalities.”
The research may be seen as bad news for the Conservatives who have traditionally failed to register many BME votes, getting just 16% of the total BME vote at the last election, compared to Labour’s 68%. The fierce criticism the government has come under for the infamous “Go home or face arrest” vans and alleged racial profiling by immigration officers is more likely to alienate BME voters.
Conservative Vice-Chair Alok Sharma said: “The analysis speaks for itself in highlighting seats with larger numbers of voters with an ethnic minority background and their potential electoral impact.”
Lester Holloway, who authored the report, urged politicians across the spectrum not to ignore the findings.
“This study should be a wake-up call to every political party that they cannot ignore or take for granted BME voters any longer. BME Britons have the political muscle to change not just their MP, but the Government.”