To be a Tory PM, it’s all about gaming the system

Friday, 22nd July

uk-parliament

‘Choosing the new Tory leader (and thereby the UK’s next prime minister) is surely just about as undemocratic and corruptible as you can get’

• IF those debating the need for a fair voting system (Letters, July 14) need an example of how not to run an election, the mechanism for choosing the new Tory leader (and thereby the UK’s next prime minister) is surely just about as undemocratic and corruptible as you can get.

The patronage-ridden Tories are using a bastardised version of single transferable vote (STV), where rather than party members being able to rank candidates in order of preference in one party-wide ballot and election managers reallocating the votes given to the last-placed candidate then second-to-last candidate etc, the “transferring” part is done on a round-by-round basis through persuading Tory MPs who voted for the least successful candidate to switch their support, often with promises of jobs or benefits to their constituencies.

This means many Tory MPs will be effectively bribed to vote for a candidate they possibly don’t rate as Britain’s next prime minister but whose team are offering the best incentives.

Then the 200,000 Tory Party members get to choose between two candidates who have managed to gerrymander their way by various behind-the-scenes tactics onto the final ballot. And that person will be the new party leader.

It’s predictable that the Tory Party lacks any proper internal democracy, but it’s a bit much when the candidate best able to game the system ends up as prime minister. And we can see how well that worked out with Boris Johnson.

DEE SEARLE, NW5

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