BME Wins Big From Theresa May’s Election Gamble

By Juliana Adenike Lucas

Two months ago, Theresa May took a gamble and called a snap election which was not required. Mrs May, though bolstered by a 24 per cent lead in the poll, went on to lose her majority in the House of Commons.   

The number of Conservative party seats now stands at 318 – a fall from 331 in 2015.

The Prime Minister who faces intense calls to resign has had to form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, DUP.

Figures from last week’s election show that, although finishing second, Labour Party made a good impression among voters. They increased their voting share, despite an onslaught against their leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Critics say Mrs May’s campaign was filled with blunders and have dubbed it the “worst.”

The only group to have come out unscathed in this election gamble are MPs from Black and Minority Ethnic, BAME backgrounds.

A breakdown of the results show that five new MPs of African and Caribbean descent were elected – bringing their total to 18.

Name Party Constituency First elected Retained
Diane Abbott Labour Hackney North and Stoke Newington (1987) Y
Dawn Butler Labour Brent Central 2015 Y
Mark Hendrick Labour Preston 2000  
Chi Onwurah Labour Newcastle upon Tyne Central 2010 Y
David Lammy Labour Tottenham 2000 Y
Chuka Umunna Labour Streatham 2010 Y
Clive Lewis Labour Norwich South 2015 Y
Kate Osamor Labour Edmonton 2015 Y
James Cleverly Conservative Braintree 2015 Y
Adam Afriyie Conservative Windsor 2005 Y
Helen Grant Conservative Maidstone and The Weald 2010 Y
Sam Gyimah Conservative East Surrey


2010 Y
Kwasi Kwarteng Conservative Spelthorne 2010  


New comers

Fiona Onasanya – takes Petersborough (Labour)

Kemi Bandenoch – Saffron Walden (Conservative)

Marsha De Cordova – Battersea (Labour)

Bim Afolami – Hitchin and Harpenden (Conservative)

Elaine Smith – Wolverhampton (Labour)

With 42.4 percent of the voting share, Labour party took several big seats from the Tories – among them was the spectacular win in Battersea where Marsha Der Cordova gained 25292 votes.

This election which saw a lot of first time voters, had a huge turnout of young voters, most evident in university cities.  The Labour Party was able to garner young and BME voters by promising to scrap tuition fees and introducing new measure to help boost employment for BAME people.

A host of grime artist, the likes of Stormzy, JME and Akala  – all known within the BME community came out in support of Corbyn. This boosted the campaign for the Labour party who went on to receive two-thirds of the BME votes.

BAME support help Labour win places like Croydon Central, Enfield Southgate, Kensington and Canterbury, which are usually strong Conservative safe seat.

The BAME votes also help Labour retain its old seats. For example, the first win for the night went to Nigerian Chi Onwurah, who won Newcastle Central with 24071 votes.

She said: “young people felt the consequence of not voting in the referendum.”

Runnymede Trust director Dr Omar Khan said: “Our initial analysis of the election results that Labour have further increased their share of the ethnic minority vote in the most diverse seats, suggesting at least two-thirds of BME voters support Labour. It would appear that there is a Jeremy Corbyn effect, but also possibly a negative effect due to the Conservative Party’s campaign.”

He said: “All previous predictions about how the BME vote is heading to the Conservatives need to be reassessed in light of this election.”

Dr Khan’s statement gives a bit of an explanation as to why Samuel Kasumu, a British Nigerian Conservative lost out to Steve Reed in Croydon North.

In a statement on the Runnymede website, he said: “Given this rise of nearly 20 percent for Labour in the most diverse seats between 2010 and 2017, there’s no evidence of a Conservative breakthrough with BME voters.”

“If anything the Conservatives are going to backward, and if these trends continue they will lose their most diverse seats in the next election,” Dr Khan went on to add.

Nigerians Waving The Flag In The House of Commons

Mrs Onuwurah will joined by three new Nigerians MP at the House of Commons: Kemi Badenoch, the Conservative MP for Saffron Walden, Bim Afolami, The Conservative MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, Fiona Onasanya, the Labour MP for Peterborough.

Eton educated Mr Afolami who received 31,189 votes (77.6 percent turnout) saw his party’s majority halved by Labour.

Other Nigerian MPs in the House include; Helen Grant, The Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP for Streatham and Kate Osamor, The Labour MP for Edmonton.

Increased Majority

Black Labour activists have previously complained of being used as foot soldiers, but the result show a rise in ethnic minority votes for Labour in key marginal seats. The results also show a rise in percentage for labour black MPs.

Labour veteran such as Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney and Stoke Newington increased her majority by over 11,000.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham received 40,249 votes (82 percent of votes), in a turnout of 68 percent.

In a tweet, he said: “Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn. Despite being underestimated and the underdog he has run one of the very best campaigns of all time.”

Lammy who had the highest percentage vote in the June 8 elections, was one of 72 MPs who said they had lost confidence in Mr Corbyn.

He seems impressed by the results. “Just imagine what we could have achieved if we had more self-belief,” he said. Tonight the political landscape has been fundamentally redrawn.”

From The Voice Newspaper – Issue No 1785 – June 15 – 21, 2017. Pg 2







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