Ethnic Minorities: delivered at the '98 Party Conference

Why are ethnic communities not represented in British politics?

1.       As immigrants, they are still sorting out the basics – housing, education for their children and the insecurity of their employment.

2.       Linguistic, cultural and social identity distinguishes them from mainstream society. Mistrust of authority, a perception of social discrimination and the cost of involvement in politics dissuades most, and pushes the few activists to serve in their own communities.

3.       There is an absence of ethnic role models in national politics.


Why do the majority vote Labour?

1.       Labour’s Race Relations Act, and the Commission for Racial Equality, are perceived by ethnic communities as protecting their rights.

2.       Living, with extended families, sharing income and poor housing, leaves them no alternative but, to vote Labour, as it minimises social tension with their indigenous neighbours. They perceive, that Labour provides, and Conservatives privatise, their health, education and welfare. We must destroy this false perception using the ethnic media.

3.       Unlike our Party, Labour has many local government councillors who act as role models, and who influence the votes of their communities.

4.       We must circulate election literature in ethnic languages. We must endeavour to influence the opinion formers  - genuine community and religious leaders, who influence such communities voting collectively.

5.       Our ethnic activists should be seen, with our leaders, at their community events with appropriate publicity in their media.


Ethnic participation in Conservative politics should not be distinct, and should not require special favour. Our Party is open to all, irrespective of colour, gender, class or creed. It offers the opportunity to serve and succeed. It rewards merit and service, in selecting whoever is best and deserving.

I believe, and, after William Hague’s reform of the Party, I know, that the Conservative Party is open, democratic and accountable. It will not decide behind closed doors. Anyone is free to join, participate and speak for the Party.

I am proud to be a member of such a Party – the Conservative Party!