Cllr Derek Tipp’s third question to the candidates for the party board…

Would you support a move to have the Party Chairman and Party Treasurer
elected by the members of the Party? (Please explain the reason for
your decision.)

JOHN FLACK: I have not heard of any proposals to elect the Treasurer. I can see some attractions in an elected Chairman, but also potential problems if an elected chairman was at odds with the Leader (I am thinking of situations in the past, not about the current incumbents) I would want to listen carefully to arguments on both sides and to take soundings of my own from the voluntary party in the Country before making up my mind on this issue, should it be brought to the board.

JEREMY MIDDLETON: I think the volunteers have considerable power over the Board already.  Our problem is that we don’t use it.  There are nine volunteers of one sort or another on the Board at the moment.  If we have a plan, if we are united, and if we stick to our guns then we can use the full power that the Board has.  However, without that we are effectively a rubber stamp.  I therefore don’t think that the volunteers need to elect the Party Chairman or Treasurer.  Indeed, it is important that the Party Leader has confidence in the Party Chairman and Treasurer to act as an effective conduit between him/her and the Board.  I therefore think that on balance it is right that he continues to retain the right to appoint these posts.

SIMON MORT: (a) Chairman – This tradition goes back to Disraeli.   There is a case for electing him/her.   It would have to be done jointly with the parly party; (b) Treasurer – I would be less happy with this.   The Treasurer has to have an unusually sensitive finger on the pulse of the City.   Not many have this awareness.  Anyhow how delicate an issue is this at the moment?!

No.  Reasons:

  1. We elect the Leader; he/she needs to have some people around him/her whom he can choose to execute the mandate he/she’s already been given by us the Membership.
  2. Management involves taking decisions that sometimes change things – which inevitably involves someone losing out.  If the Chairman and/or Treasurer are elected and need to be popular they will never manage properly.
  3. Why should we the Membership have a say over money we did not raise?  Association contributions to CCHQ in 2004 were £319,000 out of total CCHQ expenditure of £26 million.  “No representation without taxation” might be the response!
  4. There are also serious political issues involved.  If the Chairman/Treasurer has a popular mandate, they are far more likely to stand up to/challenge the Leader if an issue got heated.  You only have to read the countless accounts of tussles between the Leader and key Party figures – in government and opposition – over the last 30 years to conclude that this would only serve to heighten egos, entrench public positions and cause division.
  5. Who would put themselves up for these positions?  People with an axe to grind?  People representing a faction?  Either way, Point 4 re-applies.

EMMA PIDDING: I will answer this question in two parts.

Party Chairman: I have no clear answer the this question. However, I do believe that the role and the process for appointing the Party Chairman should be reviewed.  I set out my thoughts below:

Is the job too big for one individual?
Currently the role of Party Chairman includes:

– the promotion and ‘selling’ of the Party to the country’s electorate
– motivating and inspiring the voluntary party
– administration

It is imperative that the Party Chairman has a sound working relationship with the Leader, however I am not convinced that his/her appointment should solely be in the gift of the Leader. Should the Party Chairman be from the parliamentary party or from the voluntary party? My ‘gut instinct’ tells me the former should be the case, but I am open to suggestions and reasoning.

If I were to be elected to the Board, I would encourage a full discussion on this issue, and would be active in seeking soundings from my colleagues in the voluntary party.

Party Treasurer: I believe that the Party Board should appoint the Treasurer. The Party Board is the ultimate decision making body of the Party responsible for all operational matters.

3 comments for: Party board election: Election of Party Chairman and Treasurer

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