There has been a lot of comment about how the May 2015 election produced the most ethnically diverse British parliament in history. And indeed it did with 41 black and ethnic minority MPs out of a total of 650.
But while Asians have done very well in getting seats, Africans have not. If my analysis is correct then there are just 9 MPs who can claim African ethnicity, while there are 28 with an Asian heritage.
And some African countries are better represented than others.
So well done Ghana – three MPs from a British population estimated at 80,000.
But where are the South African and the Kenyan MPs?
Increasing diversity in parliament is a great step forward. Well done all those who were elected.
Sundar Katwala of the lobby grooup British Future’s welcomed the transformation.
A record number of ethnic minority MPs have been elected to the House of Commons – 41 non-white MPs enter the new 2015 parliament compared to 27 at the last General Election, according to British Future’s analysis of the constituency results. Labour retains its lead in the House of Commons overall, with 23 non-white MPs to the Conservatives’ 17, though the 2015 intake captures an increasingly competitive ‘race for representation’ between the two major parties.
But this leaves the question: why so few Africans?
Below is a breakdown of the 41 Black and Ethnic Minority MPs. I have worked out their ethnic background as accurately as possible from publicly available information. Apologies to anyone I have made a mistake about. I will be pleased to amend any errors.
The scorecard looks like this: Nigeria 4, Ghana 3, Sierra Leone 1, Somaliland 1. To this number could be added some Asians who lived in Uganda until expelled by Idi Amin – 2. But for this analysis I have considered them Asian.
Yet there are sizeable groups of Britains living in the UK who were born in Africa.
South Africa: 209,000, Nigeria: 180,000, Kenya: 142,000, Ghana: 80,000
Africans are now a larger group than the Caribbeans in the Black population – according to The Voice.
In 2001, the Caribbean population outnumbered the African population but there has been a significant reversal. Between 2001 and 2011, those who identified as Black Caribbean has stabilised at 1.1 percent, increasing nominally by only 29,204.
The Black African population has doubled from 0.8 percent to 1.7 percent, or from 484,783 to 989,628 nominally.
Overall, black communities (including Black African, Black Caribbean, Black American or Black European) make up 3.4 percent of Britain’s overall population which now stands at 56.1 million – an increase of seven percent since 2001.
Of course the analysis depends on how people identify themselves. Perhaps there are white MPs who have a link to South Africa, Kenya or Zimbabwe. This process will not have highlighted them.
Table: MPs elected in May 2015 by ethnicity, party and seat
Source: Parliamentary Candidates UK
|Rushanara Ali||Bengali||Labour||Bethnal Green & Bow|
|Mahmood, Shabana||Kashmiri||Labour||Birmingham Ladywood|
|Mahmood, Khalid||Kashmiri||Labour||Birmingham Perry Barr|
|Qureshi, Yasmin||Pakistani||Labour||Bolton South East|
|Hussain, Imran||Asian||Labour||Bradford East|
|Shah, Naseem Akhter||Asian||Labour||Bradford West|
|Cleverly, James Spencer||Mother Sierra Leone||Conservative||Braintree|
|Butler, Dawn||Jamaica||Labour||Brent Central|
|Debbonaire, Thangam||Asian||Labour||Bristol West|
|Vara, Shailesh Lakhman||Asian via Uganda||Conservative||Cambridgeshire North West|
|Huq, Rupa Asha||Bengali||Labour||Hammersmith|
|Sharma, Virendra||Indian||Labour||Ealing Southall|
|Malhotra, Seema||Indian||Labour||Feltham & Heston|
|Chishti, Rehman||Pakistani||Conservative||Gillingham & Rainham|
|Abbott, Diane Julie||Jamaican||Labour||Hackney North & Stoke Newington|
|Jayawardena, Ranil Malcolm||Sri Lankan||Conservative||Hampshire North East|
|Siddiq, Tulip||Bangladeshi||Labour||Hampstead & Kilburn|
|Vaz, Keith Anthony||Indian||Labour||Leicester East|
|Grant, Helen||English mother and Nigerian father||Conservative||Maidstone & The Weald|
|Onwurah, Chi||Nigerian father||Labour||Newcastle upon Tyne Central|
|Lewis, Clive Anthony||Grenadan father and English mother||Labour||Norwich South|
|Ahmed-Sheikh, Tasmina||Mother half-Welsh and half-Czech, father Pakistani||SNP||Ochil & South Perthshire|
|Hendrick, Mark Phillip||Anglo-Somaliland||Labour||Preston|
|Sharma, Alok||Indian||Conservative||Reading West|
|Sunak, Rishi||Indian||Conservative||Richmond (Yorks)|
|Kennedy, Seema Louise Ghiassi||Iranian||Conservative||South Ribble|
|Umunna, Chuka Harrison||Father Nigerian and Mother Irish and English||Labour||Streatham|
|Gyimah, Sam||Ghanaian||Conservative||Surrey East|
|Khan, Sadiq Aman||Pakistani||Labour||Tooting|
|Lammy, David Lindon||Guyana||Labour||Tottenham|
|Vaz, Valerie||Indian||Labour||Walsall South|
|Nandy, Lisa Eva||Asian||Labour||Wigan|
|Afriyie, Adam||English mother and Ghanaian father||Conservative||Windsor|
|Patel, Priti Sushil||Asian via Uganda||Conservative||Witham|