Senior Tories plan new group to shed 'toxic' brand in appeal to Black Brits
James Cleverly in Downing Street (Amanda Rose/Alamy Live News)
Senior Black Conservatives are set to launch a new organisation with the aim of improving relations between their party and the United Kingdom’s African-Caribbean population.
Education Secretary James Cleverly, special envoy on girls' education Helen Grant and London Assembly Member Shaun Bailey are among the Tory MPs, councillors, donors and activists planning to set up the group.
The House understands that those involved hope to shed what they see as the perceived “toxic” nature of the Tory brand among Black people in Britain, while working to increase the number of Black Conservatives in politics.
The group intends to provide mentoring, campaigning and networking opportunities to develop future leaders, as well as contribute to domestic and international Conservative Party policy, including a focus on increasing trade with Commonwealth countries.
A source familiar with the plans said: “We know that there are many people within the Black population that may have conservative values, particularly around family, education, and enterprise.
“But the Conservative brand is currently toxic, and something must be done to broaden our appeal if we are to win future elections. This new group will play a key role in inspiring action.”
Organisers expect the 2021 census to underline the importance of their mission to reach out to ethnic minority voters, as these communities grow and move out of expensive inner-city areas into traditionally Tory seats.
Former No 10 special adviser Samuel Kasumu, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye and businessman Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones are co-ordinating activities ahead of the launch at the Conservative Party Conference in early October.
The trio first started to discuss the need for the new organisation after Kasumu – who is now preparing a bid for the London mayoral election – resigned last year from his civil society and communities brief in Downing Street.
The adviser to Johnson quit amid a row over the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, which did not find evidence of institutional racism in areas such as policing and health.
The Commission, chaired by Tony Sewell, was criticised by charities and other organisations. Runnymede, a race equality think tank, said it failed to "acknowledge the very real suffering of Black and minority ethnic communities here in the UK".
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