Traditionally, the Labour Party has commanded overwhelming support from ethnic minority voters but in recent years, this support has been failing.
The feeling that the party has taken its ethnic minority communities’ support for granted, coupled with the strong inroads made by the Conservative Party, has meant that Labour is losing ethnic minority votes at an alarming rate.
Research done after the 2015 general election showed that the Conservatives more than doubled their support amongst ethnic minority voters to 33% (equating to 1 million votes), while support for Labour fell by 16%. These gains have not been made in Labour heartland seats (where Labour holds large majorities) but in marginal seats, which are vital for Labour if it wishes to return to government.
House of Commons Library research suggests that more than 1 in 3 constituencies have an ethnic minority population larger than the majority of the sitting MP, so having the support of ethnic minority communities is decisive in elections, especially as ethnic minority communities tend to vote in blocks.
Chuka Umunna MP has therefore launched an independent inquiry to understand the causes of this decline in support. The inquiry will also make recommendations to reverse this trend, in time for the 2020 general election.
Terms of reference
The findings of this inquiry will be published in a final report by Spring 2018, with a progress report and call for further evidence taking place in Autumn 2017.
This inquiry will look at:
- The causes of falling support for Labour among ethnic minority voters, identifying common and community specific issues;
- To what extent Labour’s current policies are reflective of these issues;
- The current party machinery which is instructed to engage with ethnic minority voters and understand if this is fulfilling its purpose;
- The political implications and complexities for Labour that arise from a continued decline in ethnic minority support;
- The potential lessons to be learnt from other political parties; and
- To what extent these lessons and other recommendations should be implemented within the party and identify the obstacles to this.