British Obama ‘closer than you think’

The largest ever number of black and Asian MPs will be returned to parliament at the next election, new research indicates.

The data, compiled by centre-left thinktank the Fabian Society, led some observers to predict a British Barack Obama is closer than people think.

“The chances for a British Obama are now much more hopeful than they would have been even ten years ago,” said Fabian general secretary Sunder Katwala.

“There’s a good chance of ten or more non-white MPs being returned in the next election. That would mean as much progress in one election as has been made in the previous four.”

Analysts are convinced this election will mark the point when the ‘ethnic penalty’ no longer applies in parliament.

With ethnic minorities making up 7.5 per cent of the general population, analysts consider anything less than that percentage of nominations by non-whites to be continued evidence of the ‘ethnic penalty’.

“This shows the British parliament is reaching a history moment as successful black and Asian candidates defeat the historic ethnic penalty,” Mr Katwala said.

Labour are selecting ethnic minority candidates for ten per cent of all new candidates. Significantly, this rises to 15 per cent in seats they already hold – where candidates have the highest chance of winning.

The Conservatives are doing well from a low base level, with nine per cent of candidates being from ethnic minorities. Unfortunately, the party has a selection rate of just four per cent.

The Liberal democrats select 5.6 per cent, but mostly for unwinnable seats, leading some analysts to fear the party will be all-white in parliament after the election.

Sadiq Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, said: “Barack Obama’s election destroys once and for all the myth that voters of all races won’t vote for ethnic minority candidates.

“Even until the day before yesterday, the media speculated that his race would cost him the election. But voters can see through skin colour.”