The three candidates standing to be chairman of the National Conservative Convention answered a first tranche of questions yesterday on candidate selection issues. Here they reply to the questions ConservativeHome readers put to them about the role of members in the party conference and policy formation, and party democracy in general. A final tranche will follow later today is to be found here.
There appears to be a consensus among all three candidates that the grassroots have been sidelined at party conferences. Simon Mort expresses regret at the "increasing marginalisation" of the voluntary party and Sir Graham Bright says he was disappointed at the lack of opportunity for activists to participate in debates and questioning at the most recent conference; Jeremy Middleton also wants more of a platform for volunteers and more spontaneity - but adds that the conference will inevitably remain "carefully managed".
All three candidates are also receptive to a revival of the old CPC format in some form or other as a way of engaging the voluntary party in policy formation and they offer a variety of answers to the question about how to make the party more democratic.