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Sutton Coldfield Tories almost select an Asian council candidate, but not quite

Sutton Coldfield Tories almost select an Asian council candidate, but not quite

🕔04.Apr 2014

Birmingham Conservatives seem destined to retain their all-white appearance on the city council after an Asian lawyer failed to win selection for the rock-solid safe seat of Sutton Trinity.

Amil Khan lost to Sutton Coldfield businessman Ewan Mackey, who was chosen by local Tory members to fight the ward at next month’s civic elections.

Mr Mackey is the chairman of the Sutton Coldfield Conservative Association.

Barring a cataclysmic collapse in Tory support he is guaranteed to win in May and will replace former Tory councillor Phil Parkin, who romped home with a majority of more than 1,000 over Labour in 2012.

Mr Khan’s failure to break through and win selection repeats a familiar pattern in Birmingham, where the Conservatives have in the past selected Asian and Black candidates but generally in inner city seats that were always likely to be unwinnable.

Mr Khan, who lives in Edgbaston, is an example of the unwinnable selection trend.

In 2010 he was chosen to contest the Liberal Democrat stronghold of Sheldon, where he trailed home in third place. He fought the seat again in 2011, and lost just as badly.

Mr Khan, who exchanged cordial messages with Mr Mackey on Twitter following the Trinity vote and congratulated him on being selected, will no doubt continue in his attempt to convince a local Conservative association in a winnable Birmingham ward that he is their man.

David Cameron made a point of courting the BME vote when he became Conservative leader, visiting Birmingham on a number of occasions and famously staying with an Asian shopkeeper and his family in Balsall Heath in 2007.

In fact, Mr Cameron was staying in Balsall Heath when Tony Blair resigned as prime minister, bequeathing the post to Gordon Brown. Mr Cameron responded by arranging to be photographed eating a Balti at a Ladypool Road restaurant.

Yet, for all of the Conservative leader’s modernisation instincts, the Tory group on Birmingham council remains resolutely white in a city where the Black and Asian community is expected to be in the majority within a decade.

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