Tories Move to Impose Candidates Centrally and Break Constituency Association Link

Guido hears Tory MPs and members are grumbling about proposed changes to the Conservative Party constitution which they fear will lead to further centralised control. Later this year the National Convention is meeting to discuss a series of draft changes, including deleting entirely the section of the constitution which spells out the way candidates are selected. Instead selections could be determined by the Committee on Candidates, which could also decide the procedures for selecting candidates. This has sparked grassroots fears that they will have even less influence on selections, and that the power to determine who can be a Tory MP will be concentrated among a small group of centrally appointed officials. Separately, Guido understands the Tories have been holding Party Assessment Boards in the last couple of weeks to approve new wannabe MPs to the candidates list. Early prep for 2022…

The second change causing concern is the proposed abolition of Constituency Associations. For 150 years the link between Constituency Associations and their candidate has been a crucial, it is now in danger of going. Previous groupings of constituencies have not been popular to say the least. Backbenchers Guido has spoken to complain that these changes show direction of travel towards a further centralised organisation which risks alienating its already dwindling membership. Expect MPs to resist the reforms…

UPDATE: David Campbell Bannerman comments:

These proposed changes would further undermine reasons for joining the Party, reducing membership yet further, and break the critical link between MPs and their associations – indeed constituency associations may be destroyed all together. This is all about the centre taking total control in a negative way, and there is a very strong reaction building amongst activists.”