Research into immigration and its effects on British politics has largely been limited to understanding the advancement of far-right political parties, particularly the British National Party and United Kingdom Independence Party, into the political landscape. However, fairly little analysis has considered the effect that immigration has on ethnic diversity and how voting patterns may change as a result, particularly for parties positioned left and right of centre on the one-dimensional spectrum. In the case of the United Kingdom (UK), we refer to the Labour-Conservative divide. Understanding these effects is particularly pertinent for Greater London, where far-right political parties have little political swayviii, and where, as per the 2011 Census, over 50% of the population are non-White British.
This paper explores the relationship between changes in the Labour vote and the ethnicity index over a 8-10 year period in London Boroughs and Wards by considering the changing proportion of votes received by Labour councillors (in relation to Conservative councillors) and changes to the ethnicity index from 2002-2010 and 2001-2011 respectively. While the General election in 2010 saw widespread losses for the Labour party across the UK, local elections in London Wards showed Labour retaining fairly consistent support; and in some cases an increase in the proportion of votes. It is argued that increases in the ethnicity index influenced this trend due to Ward based pockets of homogenous ethnic groups whose political preferences, as discussed by Heath et al, are for centre-left parties, specifically Labour.