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Tory MPs 'less likely to help black voters' to register

VOTER REGISTRATION: Conservative MPs "less likely to help black African voters", says academic

CONSERVATIVE MPs are “less likely to help black African people” to register to vote, according to new research.

The findings are based on research conducted by UCL academic Rebecca McKee who gathered data in the lead up to the 2015 election, HuffPost reported.

McKee sent emails to MPs in which she posed as a fictional prospective voter who had recently moved the constituency and was seeking advice on the best way to register to vote.

On the whole, 89 per cent of her emails were met with a response with 70 per cent of emails responded to within a day, HuffPost, which has seen an extract of McKee’s book Sex, Lies and Politics reported.

In a bid to compile findings on racial bias, McKee sent emails with a conventionally white surname and another set with a common Nigerian surname.

Emails signed off with the Nigerian surname were three per cent less likely to receive responses – 203 were responded to compared to 211. This rose to over six per cent with Conservative MPs. More than 46 per cent of Conservative MPs replied to correspondence sent using the Nigerian surname compared to 53.3 per cent when emails were sent using the conventionally white surname.

In addition to measuring the response rate, McKee also looked at whether recipients received a distinct welcome to the area – less likely for the “Nigerian constituent”.

BAME MPs were not found to be more likely to respond to correspondence sent using the Nigerian surname.

Speaking to HuffPost, McKee said: “On one level, voters should be reassured by these findings. MPs will respond to them when they have an issue, and most will do so very quickly. That is more than can be said for many other public services. And in most cases the responses will be useful.

“But there is also cause for concern, because those in the population who are often the most disengaged from the political process, and who have little faith in their MP, are also the least likely to get help when they need it.”

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