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« Eurosceptic Lamont warms to Clarke because of Iraq | Main | Ken Clarke trounces rivals in Newsnight poll »


Sean Fear

Once again, Mrs. May deserves a lot of credit for this. I had some very harsh things to say about her following the "nasty party" speech, but she's certainly gone up in my estimation recently.

James Maskell

Looks like a late move for DD there. A little too late for my liking.

James Hellyer

"Internal issues should be discussed behind-the-scenes, he said. In smoke-filled rooms no doubt!"

You're getting as bad as BBCi! The next thing you know all the pictures you use of Ken will show him shrouded in cigar smoke...


It wasn't meant to be a compliment James!

James Hellyer

Then why not go the whole Tebbit and caption all photos of Ken with the legend "Merchant of Death"? ;=)

Selsdon Man

Agreed Mr Maskell!

Davis has had plenty of opportunity but has been silent on the party constitutional changes. Round One to Fox!

Richard Allen

Glad to see DD finally making a stand on the issue but like others have said he should have done so sooner.

Michael McGowan

Sean, I agree: Theresa May is doing a terrific job in making calmly, eloquently and rationally the clear democratic case for members to have a proper say (i.e. a significant voting stake) in the election of leader. Well done too to Liam Fox for endorsing the idea of an electoral college. And if it takes a bit longer to get a leader, so what? Tony gets a free ride.....but that is what he has had anyway for most of the last eight years, mainly thanks to the Tory Party at Westminster.

Selsdon Man

My main concern with Theresa is her proposal for positive discrimination to ensure that half the PPCs in target seats are women. Even if it was desirable (it is not IMO), it would be difficult to achieve in practice. Local associations would rightly resist this form of central diktat.

Sean Fear

I agree Michael. What difference does another two months make.

SM - I dislike any form of positive discrimination, as it has the effect of promoting people beyond their capabilities, while keeping out more able people. In practice, any system of "A List" candidates would favour well-connected party hacks above all others.

James Hellyer

Labour's attempts at positive discrimination are a good example of this. Their crop of Blair Babes are hardly impressive parliamentarians.

It's absolutely wrong for one of our constituency associations to discriminate against someone because they are a woman. It's counterproductive and wrong to force them to take someone because they are a woman.

Simon C


I think you are being a little too easy on DD's "pro-democracy" comments. The BBC describes his comments as follows:

"On Monday, Mr Davis told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think the new proposal to do away with the rights of the membership is likely to be turned down - I don't think that's a bad thing.

"I think it would have been much easier just to say to the party in the country: 'Why don't we reverse the order - you have the first hit and MPs have the last say'.

"That way, we could have avoided the issue of having somebody elected without majority support in the House of Commons."

I am not quite sure what DD means by the members having "the first hit" - but possibly it means that members could produce a short-list for MPs to vote on.

Whatever he means, it's clear from the above that his prime concern if for MPs to have the final say.

If that's democracy, Editor, you're a bannana!

More pressingly, I don't think you should give up the campaign for party democracy. Whatever the result on September 27, there is a real groundswell of discontent about Howard's proposals. Whether you prefer an electoral college system or the red meat of a primary, there is still all to play for. We must get this right now, so that we don't have to return to it again in the future.

Whilst I haven't been Teresa May's greatest fan in the past, she is absolutely right about this.


I see no reason for MPs to have the final say. The argument being put is that this would ensure their loyalty, but that is plainly not true as evidenced by the way that William Hague was treated, or John Major before that.

The electoral college is also a fudge which will cause all sorts of arguments about its composition and the weightings of the various elements of it.We saw a bit of that at the NCC meeting on Saturday with different delegates giving us their own versions of how they would see it work.

What's wrong with simple straight forward one-member-one-vote?


In my opinion Derek,nothing.I still hope that one member one vote is what we will end up with.The Labour party went through pain with their electoral college I hope we can end our agony soon and start being a proper opposition again.


What's a "bannana" Simon? Is it like a banana?

I agree with other commentators that DD's position on party democracy is "a bit too little, a bit too late" but his "I don't think that's a bad thing" reaction to the likelihood of the HMM reforms being rejected is good news.

He doesn't go far enough - for me - on party democracy. I don't like any dilution of the OMOV principle and that's the reason why I don't much like Liam's electoral college idea either (although its preferable to an MPs-only election). I'm for retention of OMOV with indicative primaries amongst target sectors (eg public service workers) and target constituencies (LibDem and Labour held).

Both DD and LF have taken steps in the right direction - and LF took bigger steps earlier - but neither has matched those strides made by that heroine in leopard skin high heels...

Sean Fear

Unlike most here, I wouldn't object to a system that gave either the final or decisive say to MPs.

What I object to is being deprived of any say at all.

James Maskell

I agree with Editor here. The vote for the members should be a whole vote per member irrespective of position. There must be a level playing field.

Simon C

"What's a "bannana" Simon? Is it like a banana? "

It's most unlike you to be pedentic about typos Tim - can't think why you picked up on this one...

but I guess a bannana must be a yellow fruit that's so curved it resembles an "n" - hence the extra letter. A fruity u-turn if you like.

An electoral college is the bare minimum that would give each member a direct say in the leadership. But as you say, a primary is surely the way forward.


Isn't it amazing who anti-MP only votes the candidates get when it looks like the plan will be defeated. Is bandwagon jumping really a trait for a potential prime minister?


'how' not 'who' .... I really should check for typos!


it still doesn't read write.... ah you get the point though :-)

James Hellyer

"It's most unlike you to be pedentic about typos Tim - can't think why you picked up on this one..."

Oh, the irony...

James Hellyer

I now feel slightly guilty :=(

Simon C

"Oh, the irony..."

Nope. A typo.

Simon C


Why does your otherwise admirable website not have a spell-check facility for ham-fisted self-taught two-fingered "typists" like me who sometimes blog in a hurry without bothering to Preview properly?

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