Conservative Home's debate blogs


  • DVD rental
  • Conservative Books
My Photo

Conservative blogs

Blog powered by Typepad

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker

« Advice for Mr Davis | Main | Davis challenges Cameron over tuition fees policy »


Jack Stone

I think it is possible to get a mass membership party but I believe you have to give people reasons to join the party.
I think the party should have far more campaigns than they do now. I would like to see the party set up campaigning arms, based locally, that will campaign against things like unwanted development, crime, anti-social behaviouir, damage to the environment etc.
I would like to see the party have more regular newsletters and publications that help link memebers and encourage people to go out into the communitys and activley recruit people into the party.
It is possible to increase membership but I think the party needs to have far more inmagination than it as now if it is to be successful in doing it.

Selsdon Man

Heartland magazine was in important membership benefit. It was a valuable tool to communicate policy and ideas to the members.

It is hard to believe that, with an audience of over 250,000 and an attractive demographic profile for advertisers, it was not profitable.

I was expecting a party conference edition. Does anyone know why it has gone?

Selsdon Man

"Christopher Montgomery, a leading activist within the summer's pro-democracy movement, suggests that this 'disenfranchisement' of married couples will hurt David Davis. His suggestion is that husband-and-wives will be more traditionalist in outlook and less likely to support the modernising agenda of Mr Cameron."

Any relation Tim? There is no evidence to support Christopher's assertion. The television interviews of activists indicated that both candidates attracted support across all age groups and backgrounds. That is my experience too.

This issue should have been raised and dealt with at the constitutional convention. I am amazed that nobody did.

All members, irrespective of their status or subscription, should have a vote. That is democracy. Every member is a valued party asset and should be treated as such.

Tim Roll-Pickering

The "over 250,000" figure refers to who receives ballot papers, not overall party membership.

Frankly couples should not get two ballot papers for the price of one. That said I think sending the paper to "the first one entered on our database" is not the best move - addressing it to both members would be better, especially as many couples hold differing views in leadership contests. If joint members want two votes then how about paying the minimum membership fee for two members?

Cllr Iain Lindley

The "x and y can't vote" really is a non-story. If you pay the minimum affilation fee, you get a vote, as is the same with any Party or membership organisation.

The alleged loss of members is a more worrying, although it is important to remember that unlike the Labour Party, Conservative Party members can join as many constituency associations as they wish, and I know quite a few people with more than one membership subscription. Given this, the number of members eligible for ballot papers is always going to be noticeably lower than the declared figure for membership.


Selsdon Man:

Christopher Montgomery is no relation to me, Tim Montgomerie.

Unfortunately neither am I related to the rich golfer Colin Montgomerie.

Selsdon Man

Sorry Tim! Not quite fully awake yet!

Selsdon Man

But Colin's ex-wife is a Conservative and has attended party fundraisers. Does anyone know if Colin is a Conservative supporter? A few high profile supporters would be useful, especially to crown the new leader.

Henry Cook

Why should they get a vote if they haven't paid the money? If an individual pays £15 a year thay get a vote - that's fair and simple.

As for the overall membership - could they just be being cautious since they don't want to claim they are sending out 300,000 papers, and then send out less. It wouldn't look good.

In addition, could anyone help me with my own personal situation? I sent off a cheque for £33 (£3 young membership, £30 donation) along with a form to join in August. The cheque was banked by the party on the 26th August, but I have not received any literature/membership card etc. I did expect some confirmation, but let it slip by. Do you think I qualify as a member? It would be a bit cheeky if not!

James Maskell

When I joined the first time I sent my application to CCO and didnt receive any information at all about my membership. It was a wasted cheque. Dont be too hopeful for any information from CCO, Henry Cook.

Blue ipod

What image does it give out to the public at large of the Conservative Party, when both candidates are highlighting family values and marriage, but yet those party members who are married are only allowed one vote. The general public will not be interested as to whether they have paid £15 or not. It is the image of being at odds with what the candidates are saying that they will pick up on.

James Maskell

This is another bungle by Francis Maude. This is yet another mistake. Did he not know this might be a problem? It doesnt hurt for an incoming Party Chairman to make sure they know the rules and know what might need to be tweaked to ensure the rules are right for today's Party.

With all due respect to Francis Maude, I do think he should consider stepping down and letting someone else do the job. The disenfranchisement of the electorate has probably knocked him right down in people's minds and it would be for the best of the Party.

Tim Roll-Pickering

Erm did you not notice proposed rule changes flying about?

This problem has existed for some time. If people want to be free riders they can't complain when they get what they paid for.

Justin Hinchcliffe

As a constituency Chairman, I do not see why married couples should be allowed joint membership; can you imagine Bupa allowing this scenario? It's also discriminatory as it does not benefit same-sex couples - of which there are many members - in long-term relationships. Guess the Editor, as a figure in CCF and the Tombstone Group, will disagree with me? On another issue, the Bulletin is from the Party Chairman to all MPs and senior Party officers - don't understand why it's been made public on this page.

Michael Smith

As a constituency Chairman, I do not see why married couples should be allowed joint membership; can you imagine Bupa allowing this scenario?

Oddly enough, I can imagine the National Trust, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Countryside Alliance etc allowing, and in fact encouraging, joint membership for married couples. These groups all seem to me marginally more similar to the Conservative Party than does BUPA, which is an insurance provider rather than a membership organisation, but suit yourself.

Selsdon Man

"I do not see why married couples should be allowed joint membership; can you imagine Bupa allowing this scenario?"

Yes! Your argument is spurious Justin. My father used to get free family membership of BUPA as a company perk. BUPA put together married and family packages at attractive rates.

Anyway - a member is a member no matter how much you pay. It should be One Member One Vote.


I don't agree with the belief that large membership organisations are impossible to acheive in the 21st century. It is a reflection that more and more people feel disinterested in politics. I believe that this web site and the leadership election has done more to improve peoples interest in politics than anything else. I also believe that the fall was due almost entirely to the Howard/Maude/Monbiot(?), plans to disenfranchise the members. Personally i was on the brink of handing in my membership too. Since the decision to keep the members right to vote for out leader, i have managed to convince my parents and 3 of my work colleagues to join the party. I expect that once a leader is in place, the membership of the party will soar.

Cllr Graham Smith

The bad news is that (because of data entry errors and validation problems) some people who are eligible to vote will unfortunately not receive a ballot paper this time round.

The good news is that lessons have been learnt from the last Leadership Ballot and there is to be a system of tendered ballot papers (backed up by an appeal process) for people who consider they have been wrongly disenfranchised.

Obviously I do not know the state of play in other Conservative Associations, and Central Office are clearly managing expectations by keeping their published estimates low, but locally it seems that numbers of qualifying members have increased by almost 50% since the last ballot.

Justin Hinchcliffe

Does the National Trust have Leadership elections? Where is the logic in allowing married couples a 'tax break' internally, but not nationally as a policy? I see double standards here. Why, in the 21st century, do we discriminate against same-sex couples? Either it's the same for ALL couples or for None. Imagine trying to recruit a new member and telling him that he'd have to pay more because he's not married? Personally, I favour One Member, One Vote.

Michael Smith

Does the National Trust have Leadership elections?

Does BUPA, the parallel you suggested, have Leadership suggestions?

Michael Smith

Sorry - that should have read:

Does BUPA, the parallel you suggested, have Leadership elections?

Justin Hinchcliffe

The shareholders!!!

Henry Cook

Why should someone get a vote if they don't contribute to the party in the same way as everyone else? £15 a year isn't too much to ask and seems to me a perfectly reasonable qualification for being a full member. In issues such as this couples are individuals in their own right - they should have a vote each, but only so long as they each contribute as individual members in their own right. Many members would be rightly resentful if some got a 'free' vote, having not contributed the qualifying amount.

James Hellyer

Does the National Trust have Leadership elections?

Yes, it elects its trustees.

Where is the logic in allowing married couples a 'tax break' internally, but not nationally as a policy?

But all the leadership candidates want to give married couples a tax break nationally. So this is a tad inconsistent. Furthermore, there's no indication on any of the literature that solicits members that any of these methods of membership results in disenfranchisement. On a fundamental level the party should have made the standing of forms of membershio clear to the people it was selling them to before they made their choice - that's a basic part of contract law.


The Party rules are very simple. Membership is a minimum of £15 per person per year. If you don't pay the full membership fee, you are not a member and therefore don't qualify for, or deserve, a vote - it doesn't matter if your husband, wife, flatmate, or pet dog pays £15 - if you don't you don't get a vote. I see nothing undemocratic about any organisation setting its own, plainly explained membership criteria and then enforcing it. If you want the full benefits of membership then you have to pay your membership fee.

Every membership letter I have sent out or seen from Associations makes this clear and many Associations have contacted non-qualifying members to alert them to their status.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Conservative Home


  • Conservative Home's
    free eMailing List
    Enter your name and email address below: