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LOCAL ELECTIONS: LACK OF ETHNIC POLITICAL LEADERS TURNS OF VOTERS, SAYS STUDY

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Britain's failure to promote more black and Asian people into frontline politics means that ethnic minorities are s...
Britain's failure to promote more black and Asian people into frontline politics means that ethnic minorities are shunning democracy in the belief that their leaders are deserting them, reported The Observer (p5).

A major study into race and politics says these people have less chance of being chosen as candidates by the political parties because of entrenched attitudes. The reportby the Institute of Public Policy Research, a think-tank with close links with New Labour, says blacks and Asian people are under-represented at all levels of politics.

There are only 12 black or Asian MPs, less than 2% of the total. Even after Thursday's local elections, the number of black and Asian councillors is unlikely to rise above the present figure of 530, out of 21,000. This figure is about 2.5% is just over a third of the number that should be in councils if they refelected the proportion of black and Asian people in the country. The report says the figure, which has fallen since 1997, should be nearer 1,500.

Transport and General Workers' Union leader Bill Morris, in an introduction to the report, writes: 'If ethnic minorities cannot identify with the politicians who represent them then they will have little reason to feel enthused about engaging in the political process'.
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