Former UK Muslim minister says Cameron will lose election

Ex-Foreign Office minister Sayeeda Warsi says neglect of ethnic minority voters will prove costly in next year’s UK vote

Sayeeda Warsi, a former Foreign Office minister who has played a key role in the Conservatives' appeal to Muslim voters. (Getty Images)

Sayeeda Warsi, a former Foreign Office minister who has played a key role in the Conservatives' appeal to Muslim voters. (Getty Images)

Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives will lose next year's election because they have neglected ethnic minority voters, Britain's first Muslim cabinet minister, who last week resigned over the government's Gaza policy, warned on Sunday.

Sayeeda Warsi, a former Foreign Office minister who has played a key role in the Conservatives' appeal to Muslim voters, last week embarrassed Cameron by resigning via Twitter over what she said was the government's "morally indefensible" approach to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

On Sunday she dominated the front pages of Britain's newspapers again, this time warning that what she called Cameron's neglect of ethnic minority voters would cost him an outright victory at next year's national election.

"The electoral reality is that we will not win outright Conservative majorities until we start attracting more of the ethnic vote," she said in an interview with the Sunday Times and Independent on Sunday newspapers.

"We’ve probably left it a little too late to take this part of the electorate seriously."

The criticism from Warsi, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants to Britain who speaks fluent Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati, will hit a sore spot for Cameron.

Poor support from ethnic minority voters - which make up around 14 percent of the electorate - was one factor that cost Cameron an outright win in 2010, forcing him into a coalition government with the left-leaning Liberal Democrat party.

An academic study showed that only 16 percent of ethnic minority voters backed the Conservatives in 2010, while Labour, the main opposition party, won 68 percent support.

Current opinion polls give Labour a lead of around 4 percentage points over the Conservatives going into the May 2015 vote.

Cameron's political spokesman would not comment on the interview, but pointed to a letter last week in which the prime minister said he was sorry that Warsi had decided to resign and thanked her for her work in government.

Warsi, a baroness who sits in the upper house of parliament, in 2010 became Britain's first Muslim to serve in cabinet but was later demoted to be a senior minister of state at the Foreign Office and a minister for faith and communities. She also chaired the Conservative Party between 2010 and 2012.

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Posted by: Matt Williams

Tories or Labour, they are freely elected by the people, for better or for worse they are democratic and accountable. Given 'some' alternatives out there I would rather live under this system. If you know anything about the British you will know we do not take much heed of petty ill informed insults.

Posted by: Afsal

Tories or Labour, doesn't make a difference! Poodles of heir US Master.

Posted by: Calvin Pinto

@Matt, and yet (i assume) you reside in the UAE.

Posted by: Matt Williams

The UK government is democratically elected by the people and is transparent and accountable to its people. Despite its faults I would rather live under that system.

Posted by: Matt Williams

Tolerance towards diversity and racial minorities along with religious acceptance is something I'm very proud of in the UK and I applaud that however calling her a Muslim leader is misleading as first and foremost ministers of the UK government serve all races and creeds as duly elected to do so there is and should never be any partition of governance based on religion, we don't call our leaders Christian leaders do we? Secondly AB I find it somewhat troubling that you did not publish my last reply to Mr Afsals idiotic and insulting comment ref our democratically elected parties. We are no slaves to the US however we are long time allies. Thank you.

Posted by: who2

correct Sheikha.
Couldnt get elected even in her own town when she tried to become an MP.
Was Parachuted in to the upper chamber and has been under an incredible sense of delusion ever since.
There are other far more capable "ethnic minority" MPs.
She wont be missed.

Posted by: Mick

I love how the term "ethnic" vote only means "muslim" vote. I'm not muslim and I'm not British but I have to say that the UK has been really bending over backwards for appeasing muslim immigrants, from what I can see.

Posted by: Abu Abdullah

you wrote "bending over backwards for appeasing muslim immigrants" we used to hear that alot from Anti-muslims in the west. you also wrote that you are residing in the UAE that means "among muslims" Hmmmmm.

Posted by: Nezaud

It is time for the ethnic minority in UK to stand for what they believe in. They should have clear agenda, and enforce it through their votes.

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