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Labour gets our vote, say Voice readers

FEELING CONFIDENT: Labour leader Ed Miliband

LABOUR COULD be in line to claim a large portion of the black vote at the next General Election, according to a Voice Online poll.

Nearly 40 per cent of respondents said they plan to vote for Ed Miliband’s party come May 2015.

This is compared to five per cent who are backing the Conservatives, with none in support of the Liberal Democrats. A total of eight per cent claim they plan to vote for UKIP, led by Nigel Farage, which has enjoyed a surge in popularity across the UK with an anti-EU and anti-immigration agenda.

However, a significant number of voters – 27 per cent – said they are still undecided about which box to mark on their ballot paper.

Research published earlier this year by lobby group Operation Black Vote (OBV) revealed that black voters have the power to decide the outcome of the next general election.

Their votes could make the difference between an outright win for either of the two main parties and another hung parliament with no overall majority, particularly in 168 marginal seats such as Thurrock, in Essex, or North Warwickshire.

A study of ethnic minority voting patterns, compiled by the Runnymede Trust using data from the 2010 General Election, revealed the Tories and the Lib Dems each polled 18 per cent of the black vote, suggesting approximately 64 per cent voted Labour.

Historically, black and ethnic minority voters have aligned themselves with Labour, which boasts one of the strongest records on race legislation.

But recently black voters and those within the party have questioned whether Labour takes the support for granted.
The Tories have since made a concerted effort to broaden their appeal with black voters. In 2010, it elected its first black female MP, Helen Grant, who has since been promoted to sports minister.

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Sajid Javid as culture secretary – the first politician of an ethnic minority to hold a senior cabinet position.

Over the past year, Conservative ministers have U-turned on several unpopular policies such as charging visa deposits to visitors from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and Air Passenger Duty (APD).

They have also launched reviews into stop and search and mental health practices, two areas which disproportionately affect African and Caribbean communities.

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