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A letter from the Conservative Party – 26 August 2022

A letter from the Conservative Party – 26 August 2022

This letter was sent in response to Tortoise’s original letter on 17 August, asking for more information about who Conservative Party members are

Who chooses the next PM?

26 August 2022

Mr James Harding
Editor, Tortoise Media

26 August 2022

Dear Mr Harding,

I write in response to your email to me of 17th August 2022 headed “The Conservative leadership
election”.

As you may well be aware, the Conservative and Unionist Party, commonly referred to as the
Conservative Party, is an unincorporated association that runs under its current Constitution first
adopted in 1998 and most recently amended in January 2021.

The Party is also registered as a political party under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums
Act 2001.

The Party is not a public body and it does not carry out public functions.

As with the other main political parties, the Party’s main objective is to see the election of candidates
it supports at all levels of government whether national or local. To that end it organises its own
selection procedures to decide upon which of its members to put forward for public election. It is well
established in law that political parties are entitled to select whomsoever they wish using their own
processes. They then nominate those candidates for public election.

The selection of a candidate by a political party, even in its safest of seats where one might argue the
process is in effect selecting the MP is not regarded as a public function. The election of the MP is a
matter for the electorate.

In a similar way, the election of the Leader of the Conservative Party is a private matter for the members
of the Party under its Constitution. Under its Constitution, the Party Board and the 1922 Committee
are responsible to the Party members for the process of that election.

The appointment of the Prime Minister is a matter for the Sovereign. By convention she is likely to ask
the person recently elected as the Leader of the Party, especially as that is the most probable
recommendation of the outgoing Prime Minister. If that person were not likely to be able to command
a majority of the House of Commons, it is possible for the Sovereign to ask someone else to take on
the role.

I am therefore declining to answer your questions in detail.

Yours sincerely,

Darren Mott OBE
Chief Executive Officer

Call to arms: This is no way to elect a prime minister. If you agree, please help us spread the word. Tortoise is a small newsroom, and taking on a political party is no small task.