Ministers may be told to focus on minorities in key seats

Conservatives look to Canada to learn how to broaden their appeal to ethnic voters

Conservative Cabinet ministers could be ordered to attend Diwali festivals, Eid celebrations and other ethnic community events under plans to broaden the party's electoral appeal ahead of the next election.

The party is considering a strategy pioneered by the Conservative Party in Canada, where ministers are expected to report which ethnic minority events they have attended each month.

It comes after research by Andrew Cooper, David Cameron's director of political strategy, identified more than 30 urban seats, with big black and minority ethnic populations, that needed to be won to secure a Tory majority in 2015.

The evidence was presented to Conservative Cabinet ministers in the Prime Minister's Commons office late last year.

At the meeting, they were told that while ethnic minority voters most closely associated themselves with Conservative values – such as the importance of family and law and order – seven out of ten were far more likely to vote Labour.

"The research found that while they shared our values, we have a real brand problem with ethnic minority voters and that was something that needed to be addressed if we are going to stand a serious chance of winning in 2015," said a source.

As a result, Stephen Gilbert, Mr Cameron's Political Secretary, has been dispatched to Canada to see what lessons can be learnt from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's successful Conservative Government.

He will meet with Jason Kenney, the Conservative Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism, who has been nicknamed the "Smiling Buddha" in reference to his efforts to garner ethnic votes. Mr Kenney has made frequent appearances at ethnic minority events across the country and other cabinet ministers in Mr Harper's Government are now expected to report which ethnic events they have attended each month.

Impetus for the plan has been strengthened by the Tories' poor showing in the Bradford West by-election.

While most of the media attention was focused on Labour's disastrous loss to George Galloway, the Conservative vote also collapsed to only 2,746 votes, a 22 per cent decline on the 2010 result and a bigger percentage fall than Labour. Bradford had been on the Conservative target list at the last election.

The new strategy has the enthusiastic backing of Baroness Warsi, the Conservatives' co-chairman, who has long been pushing the party to adopt a more proactive approach in targeting Asian voters.

She said yesterday: "If we want to win a majority at a general election, we need the support of everyone who shares our values – whatever their background. But at the moment, there is often a big mismatch between the ideals and aspirations of ethnic minority voters and the party they vote for.

"We need to learn from centre-right parties in other countries how to attract votes who share our values but haven't traditionally voted Conservative. And we need to go out and persuade those voters that a Conservative government is the best way of fulfilling their aspirations for themselves, their families and their communities."

Others senior figures, including Mr Cameron, are said to have signed up on the strategy."We have taken the view in the past that we don't need to show our faces and its enough to go and talk to so-called 'community leaders' and they can deliver the votes," said one.

Every vote counts: Ethnic minorities

Constituency/Ethnic minority %

East Ham 65.51

Birmingham Ladywood 64.02

Ealing Southall 62.40

Brent North 62.30

West Ham 55.98

Ilford South 54.87

Brent Central 53

Birmingham Hall Green 52.79

Leicester East 52.01

Bethnal Green & Bow 50.39

Croydon North 49.28

Source: John Curtice

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
Travel
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

** Secondary Maths Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

Year 5 Teacher

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teacher...

** Cover Supervisor Ugently Required In Sefton Area **

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunity for Secondary...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments