The self-described "oldest, most elite, and most important of all Conservative clubs" will retain its membership rules after modernisers didn’t get enough votes to reform them.

Led by current Chairman Lord Cope of Berkeley, who is also the Conservatives’ Chief Whip in the Lords, most votes were in favour of the change but they didn’t quite reach the two-thirds majority needed to effect it.

The result will frustrate David Cameron’s team who have been pushing for more female representation throughout the party, but they were smart enough not to back the failed motion as publicly as Hague did in 2000. Cameron does of course frequent Whites club just down the road which completely excludes women.

Wellington_2The Carlton Club hasn’t always been "men only", the woman who many of you believe to be the greatest living Briton began the erosion of its tradition by earning membership ex officio of her job.

Deputy Editor

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