Still Not Easy Being Black: The Continued Struggle of Ethnic Minority Candidates to Get Elected. Evidence from 2015 British Parliamentary Elections

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 253 (University of Glasgow)
Maria Sobolewska , University of Manchester
co-authors: Rosie Campbell (Birkbeck, University of London) and Nicole Martin (University of Essex)

With a record number of ethnic minority parliamentarians who gained seats in Westminster at the 2015 elections, and the disappearance of a difference between levels of ethnic diversity in Labour and Conservative parliamentary parties, it is easy to conclude that there are no longer disadvantages for ethnic minority candidates competing for political office in the UK today. However, the analysis of the 2015 candidate survey tells a different story. While some of the efforts to bring more minorities into Parliament have clearly worked, the classic obstacles persist. Ethnic minority candidates surveyed had to apply for more seats to get selected, they were more likely to contest an unwinnable seat and they were more likely to stand in seats further away from home, which significantly increases the costs of elections for candidates. This paper will analyse the differential experience of minority candidates and address the reasons for their persisting disadvantage despite the seemingly growing ethnic diversity of Parliament in the United Kingdom.