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Electing a new leader - Conservative

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Electing a new leader - Conservative The contest has two stages. First of all any Conservative MP's who wish to stand, put their name forward. From this list (5 people in 2001), the members of the conservative party vote on whom they wish to be leader, until the top two candidates are found. After this, another ballot is taken in which all the Conservative MPs vote on who they wish to become leader out of the two remaining people. This is a totally new system of electing a leader. The rules were changed in 1998 by William Hague to make the system fairer. Prior to this date only the parliamentary party voted for the new leader. In the 2001 election five people stood for the preliminary votes; Michael Ancram, David Davis, Kenneth Clarke, Iain Duncan-Smith and Michael Portillo. ...read more.


To ensure that people didn't stand against the leader when they did not stand the chance, the candidate must have 10% backing from the Conservative MP's. Prior to 1991 candidates were allowed to challenge the leader every year without reason and even when they weren't in power. Between the 1995 election and the 2001 election, the elections for leaders have become a lot more democratic. The main reason for this is the fact that the final decision is left to the party as a whole to vote on the outcome. Also there were far fewer political manoeuvres (redwood supporting Clarke on final vote, Thatcher supporting Hague) to win the 2001 election than in the 1995 and 1997 election. However, the process is not as democratic as it could be due to the fact that MP's can not just stand, they need to be backed. ...read more.


Therefore the party has become less democratic in this way. In the final vote a final problem remained that made it very undemocratic. This was the fact that the Conservative members were only voting for the less of two evils. It would have been impossible for the members of the conservative party who are not MP's to vote for anyone other than those candidates in the last two. Therefore the publics favourite, Michael Portillo, did not make it through to the public vote. Despite the increased democracy due to the public vote, many new members did not get the right to vote, as they did not fulfil the conditions set down by Haig, mainly due to not being in the party for 6 months prior to the election. Overall the party has become more democratic but it is still deeply inherently undemocratic with many people losing out on the vote and choices of whom to vote for. ...read more.

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