Politicians warned to pay heed to migrant vote

25 Jun 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Political parties that do not recognise the importance of votes from migrants who have obtained UK citizenship will face problems in the future, according to a report analysing trends in the recent European elections.

Former Equalities and Human Rights Commission head, Trevor Phillips, and academic Richard Webber, found both Labour and the Conservatives will faces issues if they ignore the trend.

The report found that two out of three voters from ethnic minorities living in London supported Labour in the polls. The same proportion of white people voted for the Conservatives or Ukip.

The report said that different attitudes in London appeared to stem not from ‘socially liberal’ opinions but because the city is home to a growing number of migrant and ethnic minority populations. As this demographic make-up spreads out from the capital, it will take its voting preferences with it. That means that Labour – which traditionally receives around 70 per cent of the ethnic minority vote – will benefit at the expense of its right-wing rivals.

However, the report warned that Labour could shoot itself in the foot if it fails to adopt policies that appeal to this key section of its supporters. And it said if Labour leader Ed Miliband brings in anti-immigration policies as a short-term response to Ukip’s recent success at the European elections, he would threaten future support from minorities, The Guardian reported.

The report said: "Even if a policy tilt towards Ukip may benefit Labour in the short term (ie in time for a 2015 general election), there will be a huge price for Mr Miliband and his successors to pay in every subsequent general election for several decades."