A million ethnic minority votes helped send David Cameron to Downing Street on election night in May and could put a Conservative Mayor back into City Hall.
Labour still remains ahead with minority voters on 52 percent overall. However the gap between the two main parties is shrinking significantly.
This is due to various reasons.
One of the most significant reasons is that David Cameron and the Tories have engaged intensively within two community groups in particular over the last five to seven years: Britain’s Hindu and Sikh communities.
British Sikhs and British Hindus have shifted their vote drastically over recent years due to the meaningful engagement of the Conservative party and our leaders.
Whether it was by creating an Indian Diaspora Champion – Priti Patel MP; fielding the largest number of parliamentary candidates of Indian Origin than any other political party – one of whom was me, or the fact that our Prime Minister has visited India a record number of times – the engagement has been intensive and meaningful.
In addition to the Vaisakhi & Diwali receptions held at Number 10 and the PM’s visits to Sikh and Hindu temples; all of the above has been welcomed by these particular communities; the evidence of which lies in the ballot box.
One third (33 per cent) of ethnic minority voters supported the Conservatives in 2015, a stronger result than ever before for our party, which has historically struggled to appeal to ethnic voters.
One of the biggest ever surveys of ethnic minority voting attitudes, published in the 2015 election cycle was conducted by Survation for the think tank British Future.
It surveyed 2,000 ethnic minority respondents across Britain straight after the election from May 8th-14th.
The survey showed Labour securing 1.6 million votes whilst the Conservatives crossed the one million vote mark for the first time in our party’s history.
The Lib Dems and Greens both secured around 150,000 ethnic minority votes, with UKIP on 60,000 and SNP on 40,000.
The research also reveals interesting differences in party support by ethnic groups, showing much higher support for the Conservatives among Asian voters than other ethnic minorities:
Asian: 38 per cent Conservative
In particular, the research showed that Sikh and Hindu voters predominantly for the Conservative Party.
Hindus : 49 per cent Conservative, 41 per cent Labour
Sikh: 49 per cent Conservative, 41 per cent Labour,
However, one can see from the figures below, significantly more work still needs to be done to attract other BAME voters, in particular the entrepreneurial Bangladeshi Muslim community or the traditionally conservative African Christian communities.
African Christians: 56 per cent Labour, 31 per cent Conservative
Muslim: 64 per cent Labour, 25 per cent Conservative
This breakdown analysis is vital for us to understand as a Party, in order for us to secure a victory for one of our four potential London Mayoral Candidates next year – and equally for us to pick up marginal GLA seats such as Hillingdon & Ealing and Redbridge & Havering.
The figures suggest the Hindu & Sikh vote is what could help us deliver a Conservative Mayor – whether it be a Boff, Goldsmith, Greenhalgh or a Kamall Mayoralty, these votes are up for grabs and could make all the difference.
Kishan Devani is Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in London. He is also Chairman of the Treasurers Committee at Conservative Way Foward.