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CHARTER 88 TARGETS MARGINAL SEATS FOR ETHNIC VOTING CAMPAIGN

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A new campaign is being launched today to encourage people from ethnic minorities to vote, reports BBC Three Counti...
A new campaign is being launched today to encourage people from ethnic minorities to vote, reports BBC Three Counties.

The non-party pressure group Charter 88 is focusing on marginal constituencies such as Luton South where there is a high percentage of Black and Asian people. Statistics show that 24% of black people do not register to vote, compared with 6% of whites, and only 40% vote.

Michael Murray, an Afro-Caribbean graduate of Luton University, said he and many of his friends were deterred from voting by politicians' lack of interest in ethnic communities.

He commented: 'I think at the end of the day you to have something which black people out there feel is a credible party to vote for. 'All the parties, whichever one of them got into power, I think they would all act in very much the same way. So there is centre, left of centre and right of centre, but basically they would all have to toe the line, as it were, if they did get into power so people probably feel there is a certain hopelessness about the whole thing'.

Graham Bright, senior Conservative backbencher and former parliamentary private secretary to prime minister John Major, who has a majority of less than 800 in Luton South, says he welcomes the Charter 88 campaign. He says he does a lot for people from ethnic communities but does not feel he should single them out for special treatment.

He commented: 'You don't got out looking at whether someone is black or white as to what you're going to do for them. You just get in and whenever there are problems or when anyone approaches you, you do your level best as a member of parliament.

'Everyone who contacts me, I will deal with their problem to the best of my ability. I don't say I will put a special effort here because you happen to be coloured, or whatever. You help everyone'.

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