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UK black and minority ethnic MPs after the 2017 general election

The total number of BME MPs has increased again. The Conservative and Labour Parties continue to differ in their approach to selecting BME Parliamentary candidates.

Summary

Posted 22 April 2018

My page "UK political party differences in selecting BME Parliamentary candidates" looked at the composition of the House of Commons after the 2015 general election.

I concluded that Conservative associations select candidates on merit, while Labour primarily picks BME candidates only for heavily BME constituencies.

I recently updated the figures for the results of the 2017 general election, and then wrote an article for Conservative Home. You can read it below.

Mohammed Amin: The Conservatives are losing ground again on BME representation

Mohammed Amin is Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He is writing in a personal capacity.

Two years ago, my piece “BME MPs – A tale of two parties” analysed the results of the 2015 general election, looking at the 2011 census data for constituencies held by BME (black and minority ethnic) MPs.

At that time, Parliament had 41 MPs who identified as BME, 6.3 per cent of the total. Unlike many who bewailed that percentage, I regarded it as a sign of progress considering the demographics of BME Britons compared with white Britons.

Furthermore, with 17 Conservative MPs who were BME, the Labour Party (with 23) was at risk of being overhauled, losing its traditional claim to be the ‘natural home’ of BME voters and BME politicians.

So deeply embedded is this Labour Party assumption that when Kemi Badenoch MP first arrived in the House of Commons Mark Tami, a Labour MP, assumed that, because she was black, she must belong to his party!

With the same alacrity, or rather lack of it, that I displayed after the 2015 general election, I have now performed the same analysis for the 2017 general election.

The good news

Parliament reports that there are now 52 MPs who identify as BME: eight per cent of the total. They all represent English constituencies. This represents significant progress from 2015 towards a House of Commons that looks like the electorate. Furthermore, the number of Conservative MPs who identify as BME has increased from 17 to 19.

Best of all, when you look at the detailed constituency by constituency figures below, it is clear that Conservative local associations continue to choose their candidates on merit because most BME Conservative MPs represent seats that are much less diverse than the country as a whole. The average seat held by BME Conservative MP is only 6.38 per cent BME.

The bad news

The Labour Party has pulled away again, now having 32 BME MPs compared with only 23 before the 2017 general election.

Furthermore, the detailed figures below demonstrate that the Labour Party continues to almost always select a BME candidate for a safe seat only if that seat has a high BME electorate. All but three of its 32 BME-held seats has a higher BME population than the most BME Conservative seat (Alok Sharma’s Reading West, with a BME population of 19.11 per cent).

The final piece of bad news is that the Conservative Party continues to struggle with winning votes from BME electors. Although it is dispersing to the suburbs (which has significant electoral implications) Britain’s BME population still primarily resides in cities and must be a key reason, quite apart from any Brexit effect, why our party is losing ground in urban constituencies.

British Future’s post-election report “Mind the Gap” gives the following data from Ipsos-Mori: "Ipsos-Mori gives a Labour ethnic minority vote share of 73 per cent in 2017, with the Conservatives on just 17 per cent. Ipsos-Mori estimates that to be a 6 per cent advance for Labour and a 4 per cent dip for the Conservatives on the 2015 General Election."

The detailed figures

CONSERVATIVE BME MPs

Name

Constituency

BME %

Alok Sharma

Reading West

19.11%

Adam Afriyie

Windsor

13.15%

Kwasi Kwarteng

Spelthorne

12.70%

Rehman Chishti

Gillingham and Rainham

10.39%

Bim Afolami

Hitchin and Harpenden

9.60%

Helen Grant

Maidstone and The Weald

6.86%

Sam Gyimah

Surrey East

6.50%

Shailesh Vara

Cambridgeshire North West

6.28%

Ranil Jayawardena

Hampshire North East

4.52%

Sajid Javid

Bromsgrove

4.21%

Kemi Badenoch

Saffron Walden

3.61%

Suella Fernandes

Fareham

3.41%

James Cleverly

Braintree

3.32%

Rishi Sunak

Richmond (Yorks)

3.14%

Priti Patel

Witham

3.01%

Alan Mak

Havant

2.94%

Nadhim Zahawi

Stratford-On-Avon

2.88%

Seema Kennedy

South Ribble

2.80%

Nusrat Ghani

Wealden

2.70%

Average

 

6.38%

Overall, there are 296 Conservative-held seats in England. From the 2011 census, I have computed that the BME percentage for these 296 seats averages 7.07 per cent. Accordingly, the average seat held by a BME Conservative MP is 0.69 per cent less BME than the average Conservative-held seat in England.

LABOUR BME MPs

Name

Constituency

BME %

Shabana Mahmood

Birmingham, Ladywood

72.67%

Virendra Sharma

Ealing, Southall

69.55%

Keith Vaz

Leicester East

68.56%

lmran Hussain

Bradford East

62.92%

Naz Shah

Bradford West

62.92%

Dawn Butler

Brent Central

61.25%

Khalid Mahmood

Birmingham, Perry Barr

60.33%

Seema Malhotra

Feltham and Heston

55.13%

Tan Dhesi

Slough

54.92%

Rushanara Ali

Bethnal Green and Bow

53.06%

Kate Osamor

Edmonton

52.74%

David Lammy

Tottenham

49.91%

Afzal Khan

Manchester, Gorton

47.57%

Diane Abbott

Hackney North and Stoke Newington

42.26%

Chuka Umunna

Streatham

41.81%

Valerie Vaz

Walsall South

39.29%

Rupa Huq

Ealing Central and Acton

36.69%

Eleanor Smith

Wolverhampton South West

35.51%

Tulip Siddiq

Hampstead and Kilburn

34.48%

Rosena Allin-Khan

Tooting

34.10%

Preet Gill

Birmingham, Edgbaston

31.33%

Bambos Charalambous

Enfield, Southgate

30.04%

Yasmin Qureshi 

Bolton South East 

27.01%

Marsha de Cordova

Battersea

26.52%

Chi Onwurah

Newcastle Upon Tyne Central

25.78%

Mohammad Yasin

Bedford

25.57%

Thangam Debbonaire

Bristol West

25.48%

Mark Hendrick

Preston

23.73%

Fiona Onasanya

Peterborough

22.55%

Clive Lewis

Norwich South

9.99%

Faisal Rashid

Warrington South

4.58%

Lisa Nandy

Wigan

2.94%

Average

 

40.35%

Nationally, there are 227 Labour-held seats in England. From the 2011 census, I have computed that the BME percentage for these 227 seats averages 21.89 per cent. Accordingly, the average seat held by a BME Labour Party MP is 18.46 per cent more BME than the average Labour held seat in England.

Comparison

While the Conservative Party ratios for 2015 and 2017 are very similar, the Labour Party’s have changed markedly since 2015.

Then the 231 Labour held seats averaged 20.47 per cent BME, while the average BME Labour held seat averaged 26.73 per cent BME – a difference of 6.26 per cent. In 2017 that has increased to a difference of 18.46 per cent, showing Labour’s strong focusing of BME candidates on inner city winnable seats.

Readers' comments

There were a large number of comments from readers. These can be read below the original piece on Conservative Home.

Conservative Home periodically cleans comments from its website, so eventually I expect these comments to disappear.

 

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