THE BLOG
27/06/2015 05:42 BST | Updated 26/06/2016 06:59 BST

Why Andy Burnham Is the Leader Labour Needs If We Are to Reconnect With BAME Voters

The Tories more than doubled the number of ethnic minority voters it won and started to close the gap on Labour. While Labour still held a distinct lead, securing over 50% of the vote from ethnic minority voters, the Tories support grew from 16% in 2010 to 33% by 2015. These results must act as a warning to Labour - we simply cannot take any voters for granted.

This election revealed challenges for Labour in many areas.

In Scotland we lost votes to the SNP, in the South of England we lost votes to the Tories, and in many of our heartland seats we lost votes to Ukip.

However, another less talked about challenge, was the beginning of a shift of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) support away from Labour.

The Tories more than doubled the number of ethnic minority voters it won and started to close the gap on Labour. While Labour still held a distinct lead, securing over 50% of the vote from ethnic minority voters, the Tories support grew from 16% in 2010 to 33% by 2015.

These results must act as a warning to Labour - we simply cannot take any voters for granted.

The Labour Party is built on the values of respect and solidarity for all, regardless of background, race and religion. But although Labour has always reached out to people from all walks of life, our appeal at this election was too narrow.

To reconnect with BAME voters we must be prepared to change.

It is vital that the voices of the BAME community are listened to, respected and acted on by our party. It is only through doing this that we can ensure Labour remains relevant to people of all backgrounds.

We must redouble our efforts to ensure that we are truly a movement with roots in every part of the country. Our CLPs, PPCs and MPs must reflect and look like the people we seek to represent.

Because regardless of someone's race, religion or background we all broadly want the same things- a strong economy, the chance of finding a decent secure job, a home they can afford, good schools and the assurance that their parents will be looked after in later life.

The Labour Party has to convince everyone that we are capable of delivering this.

To do that we don't need to abandon Labour values, we need to reconnect with people to show them that we can put those values into practice.

And that is why we are backing Andy Burnham to be the next leader of the Labour Party.

Andy is the leader who can reach out to every person, family and business, whatever their background, and show that under his leadership Labour will exist to help them all get on.

He will ensure our party reconnects with the ethnic minority voters who have lost trust in Labour. The ambitious policy platform he is outlining on issues like housing, apprenticeships and supporting business will undoubtedly resonate with the people we lost at the last election.

A Labour Party lead by Andy Burnham will always make sure that our movement is truly open and inclusive, not just welcoming diversity in all its forms, but driven by diversity. This isn't just the right thing to do - it is the only way that we can fully rebuild our party as an election winning movement.

It's vital that the Labour Party builds on the things we did well at the last election and realises that we cannot risk losing our existing appeal to BAME voters. We are proud that the last Labour manifesto made such firm commitments to take action on issues that disproportionately impact on ethnic minority communities, such as, closing the unequal pay gap, tackling youth unemployment and robust action against hate crime.

Andy has shown his commitment to these principals and greater equality consistently throughout his time in politics and will undoubtedly carry this on as Leader of the Labour Party.

We know that Andy has the ability to take our party back to power in 2020 - and that's why we are backing him. If you would like to get involved too, please visit andy4leader.co.uk.

Dawn Butler is the Labour MP for Brent Central

Yasmin Qureshi is the Labour MP for Bolton South East

Tulip Siddiq is the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn

Valerie Vaz is the Labour MP for Walsall South