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« An unnecessary, untruthful and expensive campaign to disenfranchise party members draws to a close | Main | The race for second place »


James Hellyer

The result of the ballot was as follows:

Ballots issued: 1,141
Ballots returned: 1,001 (87.7%)
Number in favour of the proposal: 611 (61.0%)
Number against the proposal: 389 (38.9%)
Number of MPs in favour of the proposal: 132 (71.4%)
Number of MPs against the proposal: 53 (28.6%)
Number of volunteers in favour of the proposal: 446 (58.4%)
Number of volunteers against the proposal: 317 (41.5%)
Number of Peers and MEPs in favour of the proposal: 33 (63.5%)
Number of Peers and MEPs against the proposal: 19 (36.5%)
Number of void papers: 1

James Hellyer

I'd hoped that more than 53 MPs would support membership rights. Fifty backed us on the last ballot, and since then absentees and abstainers like Fox, Willetts and Davis had come out against disenfranchisement. With other MPs claiming they had switched to our side too, one can only speculate that some MPs fibbed to their constituents or that some of the "good guys" didn't care enough to vote...

Adrian IV

It certainly suggests that Davis has far fewer MPs than he claims . . .

James Maskell

Thankfully common sense and democracy won today. Thanks to everybody involved with the pro-democracy campaign, they are a credit to the Party. Monbiot Howard and Maude should feel "pretty damn silly" today. I cant wait to hear their reaction on Channel 4 and Newsnight!

More seriously, I feel Monbiot and Maude should step down from their positions within the Party. They clearly dont understand the Party and they have to face the consequences.

Lets hope this is the start of a revival of Conservative fortunes.


I couldn't agree more. I think if Theresa May doesn't stand for the leadership she should be given the role of Party Chairman again. No one has stood up for the individual members more than her, and i believe she has the right balance between modernisation and standing for traditional party values.

The Candidate

I used to be in favour of allowing MPs to choose our leader. However as the months have passed, I have changed my mind. The dreary sight of Tory MPs wanting jobs and therefore backing whoever they presume to be the next leader (ie DD) has done it for me. As Lloyd George might have said- I used to think that the Conservative Party membership was the dumbest collection of folk in Britain- at least that was until I met the Parliamentary Party. Thank God my vote will carry the same weight as any of theirs....

Timothy Mowl

Tart stuff: "A Better Choice" speaks . . .


Am i right in thinking that should a candidate eg David Davis get more than half of the parliamentary vote then he wins by default with no members election.

The keeness of MPs to have the vote themselves might mean that a few more drift towards Davis who would only need another 44 anyway.

Selsdon Man

Number of MPs in favour of the proposal: 132 (71.4%)
Number of MPs against the proposal: 53 (28.6%)

13 MPs did not vote!

Selsdon Man

That should have been 14!

James Hellyer

"Am i right in thinking that should a candidate eg David Davis get more than half of the parliamentary vote then he wins by default with no members election."

Nope, you're wrong there. So long as there's more than one candidate the members get to vote.

James Hellyer

"14 MPs did not vote!

As their votes mean so little to them, it's hardly surprising so many thought it acceptable to disenfranchise us!


I remember Cameron saying that he would not vote on the rules because he didn't think it was appropriate for people that were thinking of standing to decide how the election would occur.


I couldn't agree more with James more. Theresa May was prepared to stand up and be counted when no-one else was. She is also the only person prepared to look at the important issue of making us a modern party. Theresa is the only one talking about how we win votes amongst women, ethnic minorities and young people.

Why won't the Parliamentary Party see what the rest of us see - a women who is completely electable!

James Hellyer

Which was a typically rubbish answer. It should have been a matter of principle. Instead Cameron used it to make a positioning statement inoffensive to both sides. The man has no convictions.

James Hellyer

Obviously, I meant Cameron's answer was rubbish, not Teresa May's!

Hugh Field

I can see Redwood trying his hand now the rules have been kept the same. He could win the backing of old IDS supporters and triumph in the members vote. We may dismiss him but what we forget is that Howard was seen as someone who would be a disastorous leader - and he most certainly wasn't.

Simon C

So what now? Obviously the new leader will be selected under the old rules. But thereafter, when he's not setting out his vision for Britain, there's the need to review the party rules and reforms proposed in a 21st Century Party.

For those of us who have supported primaries, the way is now clear to start lobbying for a primary system. Teresa & Tim, your work is not yet over.

James Maskell

Another possible candidate...oh great!

The new leader, whoever it may be, should create a working party or whatever to look at proposals and come up with options for changes. Then of course a full consultation process.

Hugh Field

Oh come on! It is highly unlikely that Rifkind,Lansley, Leigh, May or Cameron will stand. The candidates are almost certain to be: Davis, Clarke, Fox and possibly a dark horse like Redwood (with backing from IDS, Leigh etc.). With May, Lansley, Rifkind and Cameron all likely to come out for Clarke it could be a very tight race between him and Davis. However if Davis has his supporters vote tactically for Redwood to get rid of Fox or Clarke then it gets very interesting. Should Clarke, Redwood and Davis be left a deal could be done between Redwood and Davis which sees the party move to the right economically but retain liberality over social issues - that's my prediction anyway.

James Hellyer

If Dr Fox doesn't meet Cornerstone's requirements, considering his euroscepticism and social conservatism, I doubt they'd turn to the divorcee Redwood just because of his euroscepticism.

Redwood also lost a lot of his credibility as a leader when he switiched to Clarke in '97 (while his supporters switched to Hague - including IDS).


And of the 58% of volunteers voting "yes" to the change, how many supported it on the merits, and how many supported it so as not to embarrass the parliamentary party leadership? I'd wager less than half supported it on the merits. Yet the parliamentary party went ahead anyway. Either the parliamentary party didn't ask what the party members thought, didn't care what the party members thought, or they were awfully sloppy ascertaining the feelings of the party members. This confirms what many of us think about the parliamentary party.

Hugh Field

Just because someone is divorced doesn't mean they can't be socially conservative. Leigh and IDS supported him in 1997 - why not this time? He is widely viewed as one of the most intelligent and able men in the Tory party. He has got a terrible press but like Howard with party spin doctors this image could be changed. He was Thatcher Head of No. 10 policy unit and achieved ministerial status in very little time. For once let us pick a man with a vision, conviction and a straightforward story to tell.
I would vote for Redwood and I think many others would - anyone with me??

James Hellyer

"Leigh and IDS supported him in 1997 - why not this time?"

1) Redwood had an affair and then divorced. This is hardly in keeping with the ethos of Cornerstone

2) Redwood lost all credibility with his "followers" when he switched to Clarke in'97. Even his campaign manager abandoned him then.

3) When tested before focus groups he scored highly as the man NOT wanted as leader.

I like Redwood, his manner and style has improved a lot over the last few years, but he is not a leader.

Music Man

As an instinctive conservative who votes consistently for the party but is not a member, as yet, I worry about the views expressed by several people here, especially James. There is a strong element within the membership who refuse to recognise reality - namely, that the only time the party membership chose the leader it was an unmitigated disaster, and that only by adopting a position and tone which will appeal to centrist, free-market liberal thinking people can the Conservative party win an election.

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