Today’s meeting of the 1922 Committee Executive was held to consider the process by which the next leader of the Conservative Party will be chosen. Assuming the position is contested, this will be the first time in British history that a Prime Minister will be elected directly to office by the membership of a political party, so the rules are if anything even more crucial than before.
Longstanding ConservativeHome readers will recall that there were attempts in 2005 to change the process for the leadership election – attempts that this site opposed – and as Paul reported this morning there have been various suggestions this time round, too. Some have called for a rule requiring that at least one of the candidates in the final round should be a woman. Others have suggest extending the shortlist put to the membership from two to three or perhaps more. Still others have suggested both changes.
However, I can report that the ’22 decided today to stick with the existing system, rather than to pursue any of these changes.
The other issue before them was the question of the timing and pace of the election. I’m told that the consensus was that a swift process was in the best interests of the Party and also of the country, in that a new Prime Minister would be the best way to calm the various political and economic uncertainties. Reviewing the 2005 leadership election, the Executive identified various delays and intervals between stages that they feel ought to be cut down, speeding up the process.
Cameron left this possibility open in his resignation statement, when he said:
“There is no need for a precise timetable today, but in my view we should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party Conference in October.”
The ’22 has now decided the election should be completed by September 2nd – before the Commons to returns on the 5th. As Paul suggested, that’s the right decision.