Ethnic minorities ‘give strong support to Labour at polls’

Dr Mohammed Ali OBE
Dr Mohammed Ali OBE
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LABOUR enjoyed the overwhelming majority of votes from ethnic minority communities at the last General Election despite the damaging impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a major new study has revealed.

While less than a third of white British voters supported the party in 2010 it received almost 90 per cent support among people from black African backgrounds, according to the biggest-yet survey of voting habits among ethnic minority groups.

The findings were presented yesterday at an event in Bradford by an Oxford University academic who warned that young black men were the group most at risk of alienation and should be treated as a priority by policy makers.

Prof Anthony Heath said the study assessed the views and voting trends of people in the country’s five main ethnic groups: Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African.

The poll showed that although Labour’s support among ethnic minorities has dropped since its landslide victory in 1997 it still gets the majority of votes from all of these groups.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are said to have cost it support among British Pakistani voters many of whom moved to the Liberal Democrats.

Labour received 58 per cent of the vote among British Pakistanis, 68 per cent of the vote of people from Indian backgrounds and 78 per cent of votes from British Caribbeans in 2010.

Despite Labour having no policies in its last manifesto to improve equal opportunities for ethnic minority groups, voters believe it is the political party most likely to advance their cause, according to Prof Heath.

He warned that people from black Caribbean backgrounds were the least satisfied with the political system.

The research has also showed that the number of people who believe ethnic minorities are held back by prejudice and discrimination was higher among black Caribbeans and black Africans than any other ethnic minority group.

White British people were said to be more tolerant of the idea of “radical Islamists” giving speeches in the UK than voters from all of the main ethnic minority groups.

A quarter of the white British voters questioned said they were happy for this to happen – compared with 23 per cent of British Pakistanis, 19 per cent of black Caribbeans and just 11 per cent of people from Indian backgrounds.

However most ethnic minority groups were more willing to allow radical Islamists to live in the UK than the white British were.

The survey shows 40 per cent of people from Pakistani backgrounds were happy with this compared to 16 per cent of voters among the white British.

Prof Heath delivered his findings in Bradford yesterday at an event organised by the QED-UK charity, based in the city

QED’s chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali said: “This kind of insight helps us understand the real concerns and divisions ethnic minorities face. It helps us focus our attention on those groups who may be showing signs of alienation or disaffection.”

The survey showed that one issue which united different ethnic minority groups was the belief that the Government needed to do more to promote equal opportunities.

It also revealed that for all minorities alike the second generation were more likely than the first generation to feel British, to speak English fluently and to feel positively towards British people.