By JR on Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Prime Minister will today launch a major campaign to target ‘aspirational’ ethnic minority voters in the suburbs after warnings that he can’t win at the next election without them.
Tory Chairman Baroness Warsi has revealed the party aims to woo female and older Asian voters who share the party’s views but who have traditionally voted Labour.
She has told Conservative Cabinet ministers and MPs that they need to do more to win over non-white voters in key marginal constituencies.
They will be ordered to discuss core Tory values – hard work, good schools, the perils of welfare dependency – rather than ‘pandering’ to received Left-wing wisdom that Asian voters are only concerned with state handouts and foreign policy issues such as Afghanistan.
The PR drive comes after Tory pollsters warned that the party could fail to win a majority in 2015 unless they do better with ethnic minority voters. The Tories won just 16 per cent of the non-white vote in 2010, and did just as badly among wealthy and poor ethnic minority communities.
Polls show that these groups predominantly share Tory values but 68 per cent of them vote for Labour.
Baroness Warsi said: ‘There are at least ten constituencies that we should have won at the last election, on the basis of the overall swing we achieved, but which we didn’t win purely because they were seats with a much larger than average black and minority ethnic population. 'The battleground for the next election is predominantly urban.’
Lady Warsi admitted that many of her colleagues have been surprised to discover that they have far larger migrant populations in their constituencies than they previously realised.
She added: ‘Somewhere like Solihull now has more than 5,000 British Muslims. These are upwardly mobile people.’
David Cameron will unveil a Conservative Friends of India group to woo Asian voters. He will also launch a Conservative Friends of Pakistan and a third group for Bangladesh later in the year.
Tory supporters have recently written in the ethnic minority media stressing that welfare dependency runs in the face of their community’s values.
Baroness Warsi said: ‘My father came to Britain and he was hugely aspirational. He wanted to work hard and do the right thing.
'People from his generation wonder how being on benefits has become a lifestyle choice. Labour go round saying to these voters that the Tories will cut your benefits. But that’s the worst sort of patronising approach.’
Following the trouncing of Labour in the Bradford West by-election, Baroness Warsi said the party would capitalise on the malaise among young Asians with the way Labour used their elders to dictate how they should vote.
‘You can see in Bradford that a generation of younger Asian women are standing up and demanding to be heard,’ she said.