As Mark Wallace wrote on this site last week, the Conservative Party’s constitution allows extraordinary general meetings of the National Convention – “the Parliament of the Conservative Party”, as the Party’s own website describes it – to be called if a petition is received requesting this “signed by not less than sixty-five Constituency Association Chairmen”.
It has previously been reported that the threshold has been reached, but ConservativeHome can confirm that CCHQ has now been formally notified that this is so.
Article 13 of Schedule 3 of the constitution says that –
“Upon a petition signed by not less than sixty-five Constituency Association Chairmen to the Secretary of the National Convention, the Chairman of the National Convention shall call an Extraordinary General Meeting of the National Convention”
– and Article 14 continues as follows –
“The Secretary of the National Convention shall give not less than 28 clear days notice of the Extraordinary General Meeting in writing to all members of the National Convention, together with an Agenda for the meeting.”
It isn’t clear as we write when that notice will be given, but the Secretary is clearly now in a position to give it. A month from today takes us to a day after the European elections are due to take place, so the meeting clearly won’t take place before then.
The petition itself, organised by Dinah Glover, the London East Area Chairman, says that –
“We no longer feel that Mrs May is the right person to continue as prime minister to lead us forward in the [Brexit] negotiations. We therefore, with great reluctance, ask that she considers her position and resigns, to allow the Conservative Party to choose another leader, and the country to move forward and negotiate our exit from the EU.”
Up to 800 party members are entitled to participate in the National Convention, and there is no guarantee that the motion will pass.
Furthermore, it would, if it did, have no binding effect.
But an emergency meeting to debate a motion of this kind is unprecedented and, if passed, it would be deal a wounding and perhaps terminal blow to May’s leadership.