One black MP for all Europe

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The Independent Online
CLAUDE MORAES could be a lone voice in the European Parliament if he wins a seat in the European elections on 10 June. He is Asian and the European Parliament will be almost wholly white.

Across the whole of the European Union, Britain is the only country where there are any black or Asian candidates standing for election. Mr Moraes is the second in Labour's list of candidates in the London region and is almost certain to gain a place in the parliament.

Mr Moraes, a commissioner for the Commission for Racial Equality until standing for Labour, said: "I will be outnumbered by neo-fascists who think I am subhuman.

"The neo-Nazis will get seats because of proportional representation, but there are no black candidates in the rest of Europe. It is almost incredible."

Mr Moraes was amazed and angry when he visited the European Parliament with other Labour candidates and realised that he was one of the few black faces in the building. He said: "In France, they have an old colonial approach to black communities and while they are part of the establishment, they won't let them have a political role, because of racism.

"In Germany, the Turks are third country nationals and they have ensured that they don't get on the candidates' lists. Portugul, Spain and Italy all have large immigrant populations from Africa but no black candidates."

An analysis by Tara Mukherjee, chairman of the London-based European Multicultural Foundation, has found that there are no black or Asian candidates outside Britain for the European elections.

"It is an outrage," said Mr Mukherjee, with a call for positive descrimination to get more members of the ethnic minorities on to selection lists.

Britain's record is better than the rest of Europe, but it too has been dragging its heels in selecting black or Asian candidates, Mr Mukherjee said.