Dale wrong on BME candidates

Iain Dale today writes that "Tories have more BME candidates than Labour." He is wrong: Labour has 42 black and minority ethnic candidates to the Conservative's 38.

Iain Dale today writes that “Tories have more BME candidates than Labour.” He is wrong: Labour has 44 BME candidates to the Conservative’s 38.

To be fair, Dale took his total from Operation Black Vote, which excluded 12 Labour MPs who are standing again. Dale writes:

“Yesterday, Operation Black Vote eulogised about the 30 BME candidates Labour has standing for them at the next election. It was very strange that the author of the piece, Lester Holloway, made no mention of the fact that at the last election the Conservatives had more BME candidates than Labour (41 to 32), a fact which is probably going to be repeated at the forthcoming election. The Conservatives have selected 38 BME candidates so far.”

That said, the crucial point is not the number of PPCs but the number who make it to Parliament. At the last election, just 2 of the Conservative’s 41 black or minority ethnic PPCs were returned (4.8 per cent) compared to 13 of Labour’s 32 (40.6 per cent). The Liberal Democrats returned no BME candidates.

Labour also have 20 PPCs in seats currently held by sitting Labour MPs while the Tories have just four. Dale predicts that 13 will be returned this time (34.2 per cent) but this is presumably based on his projection of an overall majority for the Tories.

Meanwhile, on the day that Harriet Harman raises again the issue of class, the GMB have published an analysis of the occupations of Tory candidates. It shows that of the 537 candidates and existing MP selected to stand 96 per cent of Tory candidates at next general election are from the top three (of ten) occupational groups. These are managers and senior officials; professional occupations; and associate professional and technical occupations. Of this group, 63 are from the banking and finance industry.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said:

“People from lower social backgrounds are particularly scarce among the Tory candidates at the next election.Less than 1% come from the six lower occupational groups employing 56% of the UK workforce.

UPDATE 16.37:

The OBV article also omitted the selections of Victor Agarwal in North Swindon and
Dr Amanjit Singh Jhund in Windsor. An earlier version excluded these PPCs and wrongly stated that Labour only had 42 BME PPCs. It is actually 44 as the corrected article outlines.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.