UK on course for record number of ethnic minority MPs, new analysis suggests

The UK is on course for a record number of ethnic minority MPs after the general election, a new analysis suggests.

 A “late diversity surge” in selections by both the Labour and Conservative parties is expected to boost numbers by 15 from the total in the parliament that just ended.

“The next parliament looks set to be our most-diverse ever, with more ethnic minority candidates likely to be elected whichever way the political pendulum swings on election night,” said Sunder Katwala, the director of the think-tank British Future.

“Depending on results, it’s possible that one-in-ten MPs will be from an ethnic minority background – a first for our parliament. Just a decade ago that figure was one in 40.”

However, the analysis was tempered by a spat which saw Labour warned not to “take the support of the Indian community for granted”, over a shortage of Indian-heritage candidates.

Labour Friends of India hit out after it emerged that only Navendu Mishra, in Stockport, has been selected for one of the party’s 39 safe seats and 100 target seats.

The British Future analysis suggests there will be 67 ethnic minority MPs on 13 December, if each party holds the constituencies it won at the last general election.

A rise of 15, it would deliver 44 Labour MPs, 21 Conservative MPs and 2 Liberal Democrat MPs from an ethnic minority background.

Such a result would see 19 new ethnic minority MPs – 14 Labour, 4 Conservatives and one Liberal Democrat – elected to the Commons, with just two ethnic minority MPs standing down.

And, for the first time, more ethnic minority women would be elected than men, reversing the pre-2017 pattern of ethnic minority politicians being more likely to be male.

Mr Katwala added: “Ethnic diversity has become a ‘new normal’ in British politics, across parties, and we should expect to see rising diversity in our parliament given the growing diversity of society.

“The gap between parliament and the society it represents is now closing – but there is still work to do to match the electorate, estimated to be around 12 per cent BME and rising.”

However, Labour Friends of India said the retirement of Labour veteran Keith Vaz meant the number of Indian-heritage Labour MPs would be stuck at one.

“Despite NEC [National Executive Committee] panels shortlisting or even selecting candidates in areas with a large Indian community such as Leicester, Ealing, Ilford, West Bromwich and Derby, no Indian-heritage candidates were selected,” its statement said.

“Despite making representations on this matter, our calls have been ignored.”

Written by: Rob Merrick

First published 13.11.19:

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