Experts believe that although the Conservative party won a majority in the elections, the Labour party still had influence over black and ethnic minority (BME) voters.
Some of the most diverse constituencies in Britain, which were also Labour strongholds, saw an increase in voter turnout. Initial analysis from the British election study found that the Labour party was on course to get just 47 per cent of the black and Asian vote, down from the 69 per cent of ethnic votes that former prime minister Gordon Brown captured in 2010.
Analysis published by The Times last Saturday (9) showed that 30 per cent of British Asians voted Conservative, while 48 per cent showed their support for Labour.
In the 2010 election, the Conservatives attracted 16 per cent of the ethnic minority vote.
Dr Maria Sobolewska, a political scientist from the University of Manchester, told Eastern Eye that areas with a high concentration of ethnic minority voters were likely to swing towards Labour.
“One of the results of the exit poll was the areas with ethnic minorities in them did actually swing towards Labour. My impression is that this is the Liberal Democrat vote coming back to Labour.
“Previously, I’ve shown Labour support has weakened in these areas, but they don’t have a strong choice. They still don’t have a presence from the Con-servatives and because of the collapse of the Lib Dem vote, quite a lot of Lib Dem identifying Pakistanis are coming back towards Labour.
“Bradford East is one of them, for sure. If there was 30 per cent of minority concentration in areas, there was a swing towards Labour.”
She added that Labour’s problem was they did not manage to persuade anyone outside of their “London mino-rities” and “traditional strongholds of the north” to vote for them.
“It was middle England that didn’t vote for Labour at all. A lot of areas for Labour just about scraped through,” added Sobolewska.
Simon Woolley, director of pressure group Operation Black Vote (OBV), believes that there has been a significant shift in BME voting patterns.
He told EE: “The BME vote is becoming more diverse and this situation is only going to increase as Britain’s ethnic diversity dramatically changes, with a younger population who will make voting even more diverse. In seats such as Enfield and Croydon, with a huge BME population, the Conservative candidate won. And so what we’re seeing is a political shift in BME communities.
“African, Asian and Caribbean votes are going to the Conservatives. Their support is still not as strong as the Labour party, but [there is] enough of a shift to get marginal seats past the post. The BME impact has been massive. Without the BME input, the Conservatives would have not got a majority, in Nuneaton, the London seats they won and many others.”
According to OBV analysis, East Ham, the most diverse constituency in the UK, saw a five per cent increase in turnout, while there were increases in voter participation in Brent North, from 62 per cent in 2010 to 63.5 per cent; Ealing North, 65.7 per cent against 63 per cent in 2010; and in Birmingham Ladywood, from 48 per cent five years ago to 52.7 per cent in 2015. In Ealing Central & Acton, where the turnout increased from 58.9 per cent in 2010 to 63.9 per cent, Conservative candidate Angie Bray lost by 274 votes to Labour’s Rupa Haq.
“Rupa Huq can quintessentially say the black vote got her over the line. She had a dramatic increase in her selection battle,” said Woolley.