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Warsi War Takes Ethnic Turn

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Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

The former Conservative chairman, Baroness Warsi, says her party will not win the next election unless efforts are made to attract ethnic minority voters. She resigned as a government minister over the UK’s policy on Gaza last week but is challenging the Government on new fronts.

IJO-4-12-07-Warsi01.JPG Sayeed WarsiLady Warsi told the Sunday Times and Independent on Sunday that the “electoral reality is that the Tories will not win outright Conservative majorities until we start attracting more of the ethnic vote. “Lady Warsi said she was one of David Cameron’s earliest supporters in 2005, thinking: “This is a guy who gets today’s Britain. He’s a new kind of Conservative. He’s comfortable with today’s Britain”.

“I think the party has shifted since then. The party leadership has shifted since then. I think over time it will be a regressive move because we have to appeal to all of Britain, not just because it’s morally the right thing to do… but because it is an electoral reality. “We’ve probably left it a little too late to take this part of the electorate seriously.”

According to a BBC report, the Conservatives won a 36% share of the vote at the last election, but gained the support of just 16% of ethnic minority voters. The BBC says that the Number 10 policy unit had been looking at ways to narrow this gap, and changes to stop-and-search laws were partly motivated by the concerns of ethnic minority voters. She took on criticism that she was inefficient saying that she was a “brown, working-class woman from the North. People have been telling me I’m not good enough since the day I was born”.

She also said that “some of the bitchiest women I’ve ever met in my life are the men in politics”. And she called on the government to “recognise Palestine as a state” and impose an arms embargo on Israel. She also criticised Chancellor George Osborne and chief whip Michael Gove for not using their “very, very close” relations with the Israeli government to help end the hostilities.

“What is the point of having that strong relationship if you can’t use it to move them to a position which is in their interests and our interests?” She also rejected Mr Osborne’s claim that her resignation had been “unnecessary”.

She said: “My actions would not have been necessary if he had done what he should have done, which is pick up the phone to people he is incredibly close to and say: ‘It’s unnecessary for you to meet your ends by taking out power stations, taking out homes, taking out schools and killing kids on beaches’.”‘ “People like George Osborne and Michael Gove are very, very close to the Israeli government and the Israeli leadership. What is the point of having that strong relationship if you can’t use it to move them to a position which is in their interests and our interests.”

“The Lib Dems on this are being quite disingenuous,” she said. “At the big meeting on this, where were the Lib Dems? Danny Alexander turned up and said nothing. It would have been helpful if I’d had two or three Lib Dem voices giving support to me. The fact is that they didn’t.

“The morally indefensible Gaza policy is a failing of the coalition, not just a failure of the Conservative party.”

She said: “I congratulate the Friends of Israel and those who lobby on behalf of Israel because they are incredibly effective. I don’t blame the lobby, I blame the politicians. If you are not capable of being able to decipher between lobbying and fact, and if we are incapable to see both sides of the argument, then that’s a fault that we have.

“I sincerely hope that how the Tory party raises its funds does not have an impact in relation to its policy in government. The national interest should never be subject to the chequebooks of anybody.”