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In the Labour Party some members are 608 times more equal than others

By Tim Montgomerie

ConservativeHome's first and proudest act was to defend party democracy. Michael Howard wanted to end the decisive role that grassroots members play in the election of Tory leader. This website started a campaign that with others - notably IDS, Theresa May, Michael Ancram and Barry Legg - defeated Mr Howard. We still have a process where MPs shortlist two candidates who members then choose between. My own view is that the retention of party democracy was important in giving the Cameron leadership bid its momentum.

In under four hours we'll know the identity of the new Labour leader. But it's worth remembering that the electoral college used by Labour is far from democratic.

Screen shot 2010-09-25 at 12.03.07As the New Statesman has just tweeted, the vote of one MP is 608 times more valuable than the vote of a grassroots member in Labour's union-heavy electoral college.

This morning's Guardian, no less, calls for reform:

"Labour is lucky, save in the 1981 deputy leadership contest, that it has never elected a leader or deputy in the modern era against the majority wishes of ordinary party members. But it will happen one day, perhaps today, and Labour will deserve to be embarrassed when it does. In a democratic party, each member should have just one equal vote. Labour needs to rethink its system, whoever wins today."