Ethnic minority voters are becoming increasingly concerned by the anti-immigration tone of the EU referendum debate, polls show. While white voters appear to be evenly split between Remain and Leave, more than twice as many black and minority ethnic (BME) voters are planning to vote to stay in Europe.
From an analysis of polls taken in May 2015 and February 2016, Sky News says that 55% of BME voters wanted to maintain Britain's ties with the EU, and just 23% wanted to leave. Figures are "broadly consisted" across voter groups identifying as black, Asian and mixed race.
Race is increasingly becoming a controversial part of the Brexit. Last weekend, the Leave campaign came in for heavy criticism for using badly skewed numbers to suggest that up to 16 million Turks would want to move to Britain should their country join the EU.
And last week, Operation Black Vote, a pro-EU group aiming to enthuse BME voters, was singled out for criticism by the right-wing press for a campaign poster showing a skinhead thug and an elderly woman in a sari on a see-saw with the slogan "a vote is a vote". The Daily Mail claimed it had "sparked outrage" and labelled it "racist".
The BME community is "completely alienated and disenfranchised", according to Simon Woolley, the director of Operation Black Vote.
He said: "Politicians have consistently put race on the EU Referendum agenda in a negative way throughout the whole campaign. Whether it's been Boris Johnson saying that Barack Obama, the US president, is anti-British because of his 'part-Kenyan' heritage, or Nigel Farage's claims that Labour promoted immigration to 'to rub our noses in diversity' both camps, In and Out, have at times descended into gutter politics demonising people from the immigrant population and those who hold a different religion."