03/01/2013 04:35 GMT | Updated 31/01/2013 07:21 GMT

Tory MP Warns David Cameron Against 'Ethnic Minority Beauty Parade'

David Cameron must not force local Conservative Associations to select ethnic minority parliamentary candidates, a senior Tory has warned.

On Thursday Mark Pritchard said the Party needed to encourage more non-white people to stand for election but must not engage in an "ethnic minority beauty parade".

"It would be misguided if the Party hierarchy were again tempted to set itself on a collision course with Conservative Associations by attempting to fast-track favoured ethnic minority candidates over equally talented white-British candidates," he said.

Writing for Politics Home on Thursday, The Wrekin MP, who was a secretary of the backbench Tory 1922 committee, said it was "politically naive" to think that merely increasing the number of ethnic minority MPs the party had would lead to more people from those groups voting Tory.

"I never met anyone on any doorstep from any ethnic group who has said they were more likely to vote Conservative if they saw more Black or Asian faces sat on Conservative benches," he said.

In December it was reported Cameron is concerned that his party's unpopularity among voters from ethnic minority backgrounds could damage its prospects of winning an overall majority at the general election planned for 2015.

The number of black and Asian Conservative MPs jumped from two to 11 at the 2010 election, but the party secured only 16% of the ethnic minority vote, compared with 68% by Labour.

Pritchard said ditching his plans to introduce gay marriage would be a more effective way to appeal to ethnic minority voters.

"To proceed regardless would show the Conservative Party as out of touch with many in the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Christian communities – many of whom are Asian and Afro-Caribbean," he said.