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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
More minorities contest election
MPs Paul Boateng, Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz, Diane Abbot (left-right) at 1988 Labour conference
The first ethnic minority MPs of modern times were elected in 1987
Nearly two-thirds more ethnic minority candidates are standing for the three main parties than in the 2001 election.

Overall, 110 have been selected compared with the 66 in 2001, with the Tories showing the biggest growth.

The Conservatives are fielding 41 ethnic minority candidates, compared with the Lib Dems' 40 and Labour's 29.

Thirteen of the 659 MPs in the last parliament came from an ethnic minority.

Twelve of them represented Labour and one was a Liberal Democrat.

The Conservatives have selected more than twice as many ethnic minority candidates as in the last general election.

Two of them - Adam Afriyie in Windsor and Shailesh Vara in North West Cambridgeshire - are standing in seats won by the Tories in 2001.

In recent years there has been only one Conservative MP of ethnic minority origin - Nirj Deva, now a Conservative MEP, who represented the west London constituency of Brentford & Isleworth between 1992 and 1997.

Target seats

Apart from Parmjit Singh Gill who won Leicester South in a 2004 by-election, the Liberal Democrats are not fielding any ethnic minority candidates in seats already held by the party.

Ethnic minority candidates
2001: 16
2005: 41
Liberal Democrat:
2001: 29
2005: 40
2001: 21
2005: 29

However, two are contesting constituencies on the Lib Dems' target list.

Hong Kong-born James Main is standing in Bridgwater, Somerset, number 23 on the Lib Dems' target seat list ,which was won by the Tories in 2001.

Nasser Butt is contesting the Lib Dems' 68th target seat - Mole Valley in Surrey - currently held by the Tories with a majority of just under 22%.

Labour's 29 ethnic minority candidates include 11 sitting MPs and four new candidates. One of them - Dawn Butler in Brent South - is hoping to replace black cabinet minister Paul Boateng.

Mr Boateng is retiring from parliament to become the UK's ambassador to South Africa, should Labour win on 5 May.

Also contesting seats won by Labour in 2001 are Sadiq Khan in Tooting, south London and Shahid Malik, a Labour NEC member, in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

And Solicitor Yasmin Qureshi is standing for Labour in Brent East, a long-time Labour seat captured by the Lib Dems' Sarah Teather in a by-election in September 2003.



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