Friday, August 31, 2018
Friday, August 24, 2018
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
20th August 2018
Rt. Hon. Brandon Lewis, MP
Chairman, The Party Board,
Conservative Campaign Headquarters,
4 Matthew Parker Street,
Re: Proposed Changes to the Election of the Conservative Party Leader
There is much speculation that there will be a Leadership Election in the Conservative Party before the end of this Parliament. One of the reasons for people to become members of the Party is that they can then participate in a Leadership election and yet in two out of the last four Leadership contests the members did not get a vote. The Members of Parliament arranged that only one candidate was left to fight the election in 2003. In 2016 we ended up with only one candidate and even in 2001 when the members got to vote the front runner was eliminated by one vote by the MPs. In a modern political Party this is not acceptable. The 1922 Committee should now change the rules so that all candidates who have more than 20 MPs nominating them will be put to the members in a ballot conducted on the Preferential Vote system of election, so that the winner will be the first candidate to get over 50% of the vote.
This is the fair way to proceed and one advantage is that as all members participate there can be no division between the Parliamentary Party and the rest of the members as the figures as to how each part voted would not be known.
I am aware that under the Party Constitution the 1922 Committee is obliged to put two candidates forward for the members to vote on, but the Party Board has the power under Part IV section 17 of the Constitution “to do anything which in its opinion relates to the management and administration of the Party.” It was under this clause that the entire section of the Constitution on the selection of parliamentary candidates was ignored at the General Election in 2017 so that CCHQ could impose candidates on the constituencies.
In 2016, when David Cameron resigned as Party Leader some 10,000 people joined the Party because they thought they would be able to vote in the subsequent Leadership election. It is said that people are now joining the Party in anticipation of being able to participate in the next Leadership election. I fear there will be mass resignations from the Party of its members if the MPs only put forward one candidate or stop a candidate who is popular with the members of the Party from b eing included in the ballot.
It is time for the Party to embrace democracy and allow full participation by the membership. Could you please put this proposal to the Party Board for their approval?
Copy: Sir Graham Brady (Chairman 1922Committee)