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Lib Dems appeal to BME voters with Equality manifesto

Nick Clegg - Liberal Democrat leader

The Liberal Democrat manifesto, launched today, is firmly geared to appeal to the votes of the black, Asian and minority ethnic population.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg launched a mini manifesto that specifically dealt with major issues affecting Britain’s BME population, including the government’s controversial DNA database; re-addressing immigration rules that have unfairly impacted on BME communities; and a special focus on eliminating race discrimination in employment.

Clegg said: “It is a scandal that in Britain in 2010, if you’re black, Asian or from another ethnic minority you are still more likely to be poor, out of work, and the neighbourhood you live in is more likely to be deprived. Young black and Asian men in particular are far more likely to be stopped by the police when they have done nothing wrong. And the total mismanagement of the immigration system has undermined tolerance, stoking up fear and tensions between communities.”

The manifesto, ‘Policies for racial equality,’ includes:

  • Scrapping the scheme whereby innocent people’s DNA is stored on the national DNA database. Black people are hugely over-represented on the DNA database because they are more likely to be stopped by the police;
  • Allowing parents to continue to choose faith based schools within the state funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools;
  • Ensuring that immigration decisions are made fairly, particularly for relatives. The Lib Dems also say that they will allow people who have been in Britain without the correct papers for 10 years, but speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long term, the right to earn their citizenship- a point that numerous campaign groups have repeatedly called for in the past;
  • The Lib Dems have also promised to tackle discrimination in employment, calling for name blind job application forms to reduce sex and race discrimination.

The Lib Dems manifesto promises, particularly on immigration, lie in stark contrast to Labour and Conservative pledges to make Britain’s borders stronger.

The direct appeal by the Liberal Democrats to focus on issues of major concern to BME communities underscores the critical role that we will play in this election.

The BME vote will be particularly crucial in over 100 constituencies and could determine the overall outcome of this election.

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