Kishan Devani: BAME vote is vital for the London Mayoralty

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A MILLION ethnic minority votes helped put David Cameron into Downing Street on election night in May and could put a Conservative Mayor back into City Hall.  

Labour still remains ahead with minority voters on 52 per cent, however the gap between the two main parties is shrinking significantly.

This is due to various reasons - however one of the most significant reasons is that David Cameron and the Conservative party have engaged intensively within two communities in particular the Hindu and Sikh community over the last 5-7 years. These communities in particular have shifted their vote drastically over recent years due to the meaningful engagement of the Conservative party and our leaders. Whether it be in creating an Indian Diaspora Champion - Priti Patel MP; fielding the largest number of parliamentary candidates of Indian Origin (British Indian) than any other political party - one of which was me, or the fact that our Prime Minister has visited India a record number of times. In addition to the Vaisakhi & Diwali receptions held at Number 10 and the PM's visits to Sikh and Hindu temples; all of the above has been welcomed by these particular communities; whose evidence lies in the ballot box.

One third (33 per cent) of ethnic minority voters supported the Conservatives in 2015, a stronger result than ever before for our party, which has historically struggled to appeal to ethnic voters. 

A study which is the largest survey of ethnic minority attitudes to be published in the 2015 election cycle was conducted by Survation for thinktank British Future. It surveyed 2,000 ethnic minority respondents across Britain straight after the election from May 8th-14th.

The study shows translated into votes, based on an estimated three million ethnic minority voters taking part in the election and the results show 1.6 million votes went to Labour, with the Conservatives securing one million ethnic minority votes for the first time in our party’s history. The Lib Dems and Greens both secured around 150,000 ethnic minority votes, with UKIP on 60,000 and SNP on 40,000.

The research also reveals interesting differences in party support by ethnic groups, showing much higher support for the Conservatives among Asian voters than other ethnic minorities:

Asian:  38 per cent Conservative

In particularly one can see from the research the Sikh and Hindu Communities voted predominantly Conservative.

Hindu: 49 per cent Conservative, 41 per cent Labour

Sikh (small sample): 49 per cent Conservative, 41 per cent Labour, 

However, one can see from the figures below, significantly more work is still to be done to attract other BAME voters. In particularly communities such as the entrepreneurial Bangladeshi Muslim community or the traditionally conservative African Christian communities.

Christian: 56 per cent Labour, 31 per cent Conservative

Muslim: 64 per cent Labour, 25 per cent Conservative

This breakdown analysis is vital for us to understand as a Party, in order for us to secure a victory for one of our four potential London Mayoral Candidates next year - and equally for us to pick up marginal GLA seats such as Hillingdon & Ealing and Redbridge & Havering. The figures suggest the Hindu & Sikh vote is what could help us deliver a future Conservative Mayor - whether it be a Boff, Goldsmith, Greenhalgh or a Kamall Mayoralty, these votes are up for grabs and could make all the difference. Through meaningful and long term relationship building with these communities London may just always be blessed with a Conservative Mayor! 

Kishan Devani is Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in London. He is also Chairman of the Treasurers Committee at CWF.

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