Tensions between the rights of Party members and the essentials of Parliamentary democracy can’t be smoothed away altogether. The question is how best to manage them.
Individually, it may make sense for a constituency to pick a known local candidate. But collectively, the party needs some constituencies to think outside the box, so as to make itself collectively more electable.
“There’s been a clear trend, over a long time, for MPs to be local champions, rather than distant representatives of capital or labour in Westminster.”
Bear in mind that if a week is a long time in politics, 16 months is an eternity. A lot can happen between now and October 2024, surely the earliest date for the general election.
The purpose of the Conservative Party is to win elections, form a government, and deliver calmly and carefully considered Tory policies for the benefit of the nation. It is not merely to be a voice “making the argument” for conservative ideals.
The broad consensus needed for constitutional change is at odds with the factional spirit in which they have launched their campaign.
The current arrangements were a sop to activists by CCHQ as it seized control of selections, the conference, and so much more in 1998.
MPs hardly have a great track record of selecting suitable candidates – and the current system allows for coronations when needed.
Party members deserve a larger say over policy, candidate selection, and much else. But it must be for the House of Commons to choose the prime minister.
Local people know their area and community better than anyone in Whitehall, and should show initiative to support the vulnerable.
Activists are willing to go along with the Party as long as it’s prepared to go along with them. Which has meant it doing so on the great issues of the day. Which in recent years have boiled down to one – Brexit.
To date, 17,000 members have taken up a ticket to one of our regional events. Don’t miss your chance to question the candidates.
As a constituency chairman, I talk to my activists and a lot of voters. Here’s what they’re trying to tell the Party.