New research from British Future suggests a shift in BME voting patterns in the UK General Elections, with the Conservatives closing the gap on Labour on ethnic minority votes in particular because of British Asians and those in the South of England.
In the 2010 elections, Labour secured 68% of ethnic minority votes and the Conservatives, on the other hand, secured only 16%.
In the 2015 elections, Labour support remained in the lead amongst BME voters on 52%, however, the gap has narrowed and the Conservatives took a third (33%) of ethnic minority votes in the General Election, equating to around 1 million votes, in part due to the Asian vote, particularly Hindus.
Asian support this election was at 50% for Labour and 38% for Conservatives. The evidence suggested that while BME Christians and Muslims preferred Labour to the Conservatives, Hindus and Sikhs preferred the Conservatives to Labour. The Tories received 49% of the Hindu and Sikh community vote, with Labour on 41%.
Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said "Ethnic minority votes are more ‘up for grabs’ than ever before. Labour remains ahead with minority voters, but the party may have won too many of its minority votes in the wrong places electorally – doubling majorities in heartland urban seats that were already safe but slipping in the southern marginals."
While Labour may be hopeful of winning these votes back in 2020, Omar Khan, director of the Runnymede Trust added "with more and more BME people moving outside the major cities the Conservatives appear well placed to make further gains in 2020 and beyond if they can respond to ethnic inequalities and realise BME aspirations while in government."