The results of the elections for the National Conservative Convention are now in, and read as follows:
Chairman: Rob Semple (elected unopposed)
President: Andrew Sharpe (elected unopposed)
Tom Spiller – 213 (elected)
Pamela Hall – 192 (elected)
James Pearson – 172 (elected)
Andrew Colborne – 141
Linda Arkley – 127
Pat Moore – 120
Tiz Baskerville MBE – 92
Philip Booth – 100
The Convention isn’t a well-known body, even within the Conservative Party, but it does matter. Officially, its officers “lead the Voluntary Party”. That means they sit on the Party Board, and are regularly involved when there’s a controversial measure that CCHQ or the leadership wants to pursue – as we saw in the fast-tracked candidate selection process during the election, when Rob Semple had a say on the new rules and on every shortlist and imposed selection. They’re also involved in the current post-election review of the Party’s structure.
Given those important jobs, and their official role representing members, readers will note how few votes even the winning candidates received. That’s because the Convention’s officers are elected by Area committees – mostly Association Chairs and their Deputies – not by the mass membership as a whole.
I suspect many members won’t have known that their Association officers vote on these positions, so won’t have scrutinised who was standing to supposedly represent their interests and views within the Party. For that matter, I’m aware of several Association officers in various parts of the country who didn’t know they had a vote on these positions, either. That’s far from ideal, and means that while the Convention is no doubt well-intentioned, it lacks a true democratic mandate. Hopefully that’s something the Party review will consider correcting.