Last night a high level Conservative source contacted ConservativeHome with a ‘clarification’ of the procedures via which the next slate of regional list MEPs will be selected (if agreed by the Party Board this coming Monday). These are the crucial facts:
- Only MEPs who irrevocably commit to David Cameron’s EPP exit commitment will be entitled to stand again as MEPs;
- Incumbent MEPs will then be assessed by a college of regional Association Chairmen and others (large Associations will have extra representatives on this college) as to whether they should continue as candidates in the top places of regional lists;
If the college rejects incumbent MEPs they will not be permitted to stand at all;**
- Rank-and-file members will then have an opportunity to re-rank those MEPs who are approved as candidates but only within the top slots*;
- Any retiring MEPs will be replaced by women candidates*;
- Members will then be able to propose rankings for other MEP candidates for the slots outside the top places.
* If, for example, a region has four Tory MEPs and one is retiring, the college will decide if the three existing MEPs should continue to occupy the top three places on the list. If all three are allowed to continue all members will then decide the number 1, 2 or 3 ranking of each candidate. A woman must then be selected for slot four. All members will decide which candidates – of any gender – fill slots five and below.
**Our source has contacted us with a slight correction – the regional college won’t be able to stop them standing as non-priority candidates.