Labour is shedding ethnic minority votes which could prove fatal for 2020

In a keynote speech to Unison's 2016 National Black Members' Conference today, Labour MP Chuka Umunna will argue that Labour is losing support to the Tories from Britain's ethnic minority at a dramatic rate, as he launches an independent inquiry into Labour's ethnic minority support.

In the speech Mr Umunna will point to:

New House of Commons library research showing that in more than 1 in 3 constituencies ethnic minority votes exceed the majority of the MP, showing the vital role they will play at the 2020 Election;

Research from the 2015 Election showing Tory support since 2010 more than doubling from 16% to 33% amongst ethnic minority voters, with Labour support falling by 16%;

Evidence that more ethnic minority middle class voters thought a Tory led government would lead to better economic policy and the Tories increasing support amongst aspirational ethnic minority voters in key marginal seats; and

The Tories increasing their number of ethnic minority MPs by 15 compared to Labour's increase of 10 ethnic minority MPs this Parliament.

Whilst Labour has historically performed well amongst ethnic minority voters and continues to outpoll all other political parties, the lead has dramatically shrunk in recent years and in the 2015 General Election one million ethnic minority voters helped put David Cameron back into Downing Street.

At the conference Mr Umunna will launch his independent inquiry into Labour's ethnic minority support which he will running with Keith Vaz MP, one of the four ethnic minority MPs first elected in 1987, Britain's first Asian minister and Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee of which Mr Umunna is a member. The inquiry has been warmly welcomed by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn MP.

Commenting on Labour's falling support amongst ethnic minority communities, Chuka Umunna MP will say:

"In spite of all we have delivered, too often we have given the impression that we take our ethnic minority communities' support for granted. We cannot afford to do this.

"According to the House of Commons library, in 253 constituencies in the UK -- more than 1 in 3 - the ethnic minority population exceeds the majority of the sitting MP. So, whether you can attract ethnic minority support in those seats can be decisive.

"Evidence from last year's General Election suggests we are shedding votes from different ethnic minority communities to the Tories. And we have not a hope in hell of retaining all our current seats, let alone make any enough gains and winning the next General Election if we continue to lose ethnic minority votes at this rate."

On the Conservatives inroads into Labour's ethnic minority support, Mr Umunna will say:

"Since 2005 the Conservative Party has been assiduously courting support across our different communities and it is yielding results

"Conservative support amongst ethnic minority voters at the 2015 General Election jumped to 33% - 1 million ethnic minority voters helped put David Cameron in Downing Street, the best result in that party's history. Meanwhile our support dropped to 52%. So an extraordinary jump for the Tories - a doubling of support - and a big drop in support for us. The alarm bells should be ringing.

"In this Parliament, there are now 41 ethnic minority MPs: 23 Labour; 17 Tories. But, whilst there are 10 more ethnic minority Labour MPs, there are 15 more Tory ones compared to the last Parliament. Make no mistake: the Tories aim to ensure there are more Tory ethnic minority members of the 2020 Parliament than Labour ones."

On Labour's loss of support amongst middle class and aspirational ethnic minority voters, Mr Umunna will say:

"The Runnymede Trust argues that there is evidence that more ethnic minority middle class voters agreed that a Conservative led government would lead to better economic policy.

"In 2015 we extended our ethnic minority vote in heartland seats which already had large majorities but in marginal areas like Watford, Swindon and Milton Keynes - which we need to gain to win a majority - the Conservatives successfully extended their appeal to aspirational ethnic minority voters."

In defence of Labour's record on social justice in office, Mr Umunna will say:

"Labour - in and out of Government - was not and never has been just another shade of Tory: the overwhelming majority of what we did delivered far greater social justice in Britain. That is our legacy and we should all be proud of it. Read all the equality impact assessments of our policies in government to see what I'm talking about.

"Now I can understand why, if you have never had need to use a children's centre, or if every generation of your family has habitually gone on to university, if you have never been on the minimum wage or indeed your family has never suffered the racism of the police, why Labour's achievements in office - and I could list many more - might not mean so much to you. But they made a fundamental difference to the lives of the people I represent.

"There is no glory in opposition - we can force the odd u-turn as we did on tax credits but the Tories are in the driving seat. That is why we must kick these Tories out in 2020, and - make no mistake - we will kick them out with a purpose: to fashion a politics of hope that brings together all communities around justice, peace and prosperity, for all Britons not just the top 1%."

ENDS