Wolverhampton, UNITED KINGDOM – The Asian candidate in Wolverhampton South West is leading a change in the “relationship” between the immigrant communities and the Conservative Party according to Nick Boles. The Skills Minister told a rally at a DIY store in Wolverhampton that it was vital to re-elect Paul Uppal because he was representing the seat that Enoch Powell had previously held.
Both Uppal and Powell were elected to Wolverhampton South West with a wafer thin majority of 691. Mr Powell initially won the seat in the 1950 general election, but increased his majority every year with a mixture of radical politics and local activism.
The Conservative Party has struggled historically to attract ethnic minority voters, partly because of Powell’s famous ‘River’s of Blood Speech’. In it he warned that bringing too many immigrants to Britain would lead a racial conflict.
The speech is often cited as a low point in British race relations, although it was welcomed in some quarters at the time. In 2010, thirty years after Powell was last elected in Wolverhampton, Uppal took the seat off Labour. He is a Sikh whose family moved from Kenya, when Asians were expelled from the country in the late 1960’s.
Nick Boles said: “Paul is a remarkably important person in the life of the Conservative Party and of this country. What Paul, not just symbolises, but is actually himself leading, is a change in the relationship between the Conservative Party and people who live in this country whose parents or grandparents moved here from somewhere else
“The very fact that Paul is representing a constituency that was once represented by Enoch Powell tells you everything that you need to know about the importance of re-electing this man.
“If our party has a future it’s because Paul, and others, help persuade people of every faith and every background ethnic background that the Conservative Party speaks for them, that the CP shares their values and that the CP cares about their future.
“If I had to pick one Member of Parliament who I want to see returned next Thursday it would be Paul Uppal.”
Mr Boles was out as part of the BattleBus2015 offensive in marginal constituencies ahead of Thursday’s general election. He was addressing campaigners who spent Sunday knocking on doors in the highly marginal seat. Tory sources predict Mr Uppal will retain the Wolverhampton, despite Labour targetting the seat.