Could ethnic minority voters swing it for the out campaign in the EU referendum? That’s the hope of UKIP’s Steven Woolfe at least, who in a speech this morning at British Future will be urging ‘Leave’ to reach out to black and minority communities. Speaking on the Today programme this morning, he said such groups would be crucial to the campaign’s success.
‘There has always been this kind of assumption that, for example, minorities are more likely to vote for the Labour party rather than the Conservative party and we now know that’s not the case. What the research is saying is that the community don’t see the message of the Brexit campaign as being one of positive effects in their lives, yet they are the ones who are actually feeling the strain. If you look at the black community, they are more likely to be struggling on low skilled wages, and that’s the area which has been affected by large scale migration.’
With only some three per cent of black and ethnic minority having voted for UKIP at the last election, the argument is somewhat strained. And the strategy relies on a figurehead for the campaign who is able to reach out to ethnic minorities emerging – a figurehead who is, crucially, not Nigel Farage. Woolfe admitted as much during his interview this morning.
‘I have always said we should have a dream team and Nigel should play one of the key roles in that. I am saying it would be a mistake is anyone was a sole figurehead in this. We have to reach out to everybody and Nigel is a very important part of the group of that.’
With the Brexit campaign dividing UKIP between Leave.EU, which Farage is backing, and Vote Leave, the party is in such a mess that reaching out to new voters could prove a step too far.