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Black and Asian candidates face an “ethnic penalty” in elections, seeing lower increases in their vote shares than white candidates in the same parties, analysis has revealed.


Conservative party candidates can be particularly disadvantaged, meaning minority ethnic candidates may end up contesting only safe seats, the research found – a phenomenon that could drastically limit the spectrum of candidates who will put themselves forward for the party.

The analysis by Stephen Fisher, an Oxford University professor, found that where the Tories fielded minority ethnic candidates last year in seats where they had not done so in 2015, the party’s share of the vote rose by 1.6 points – significantly lower than the national increase of 5.2 points.

Where white Tory candidates stood in seats where a minority ethnic candidate had stood in 2015, the vote share increased by 6.5 points. Fisher said the analysis implied “an apparent 3.6-point ethnic penalty”.

The voting trend is highlighted in a new book, The British General Election of 2017, edited by professors Philip Cowley and Denis Kavanagh. It is one part of a troubling picture of the electoral prospects for minority ethnic candidates presented by recent academic research and shared with the Guardian as part of the Bias in Britain series.  Read More


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