The Campaign for Conservative Democracy (CCD) has published a joint letter to the Conservative Party Chairman, James Cleverly MP, calling for reform of the Party’s parliamentary candidate selection process. The letter, below, is co-signed by 35 signatories, including constituency Chairs and Presidents:
14th September 2019
Dear Mr Cleverly,
We, the undersigned, have serious concerns regarding the selection of the Party’s parliamentary candidates.
The Prime Minister is rightly in election mode and CCHQ should follow suit by selecting candidates as soon as possible. However, it is important that the Party learns the mistakes of the past, and selects the right candidates.
Under the Cameron and May regimes, CCHQ pushed for and approved many candidates who were entirely devoid of conservative credentials and beliefs. The result has been the infiltration of the Conservative Party by people who would be far better suited to representing Labour or the Liberal Democrats. The behaviour of twenty plus former Conservative parliamentarians – many of whom entered politics under the Cameron or May tenure – demonstrates this. The removal of the Whip was the right thing to do and we urge you to ensure that it is never reinstated.
We also urge you to change the way the Conservative Party selects its candidates, so that the Party is once again represented by conservatives. CCHQ must abandon its unhealthy obsession with identity politics, and ensure that merit is the only acceptable criterion. Continuation of the patronising and ill-thought out quota system will prevent the best and brightest from representing our Party.
It is no secret that relations between CCHQ and associations are at an all-time low. CCHQ can fix this by returning the power they took away from associations to decide who their Conservative candidate is and making sure the process is more transparent and democratic, instead of imposing CCHQ’s favoured candidates on them. Sam Gyimah, Rory Stewart, Sarah Wollaston, and Heidi Allen are examples of people who have been promoted and pushed by CCHQ, despite their lack of conservative beliefs; look at where that has left us.
The Conservative Party has been at its most successful when we have trusted the members to choose the candidates who represent us. It is worth noting that CCHQ took control of candidates in 1998. Prior to this, local associations had control. In the five General Elections since 1998 the Conservatives won one with an overall majority. In the five General Elections prior to 1998 the Conservatives won four.
Unless we learn the mistakes of the past, our members will leave, and the Party’s fortunes will decline again.
Cllr Bob Perry, Deputy Chairman, Hornchurch & Upminster Conservatives
John Strafford, Chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy and former Chairman, Beaconsfield Constituency
Dinah Glover, Chair of London East Conservatives
Paul Diamond, Chairman of Comberton Branch, Member Executive Committee
Steve Marsden, Member, Bolton West
Keith Wells, President, Hornchurch & Upminster Conservatives
Alan Chapman, Shipley, former Conservative Metro Councillor, Constituency Officer, local election agent
Commander Derek Beesley, Former President of Aberconwy Conservatives
John Thorne, Taunton Deane, Executive Council Member, Somerset County Councillor
Ken Worthy, Chairman, Claygate, Hinchley Wood and Weston Green Branch, Esher and Walton
Grant MacMaster, Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association, Association Data Analyst
John Carpenter, Sleaford and North Hykeham
Roger Duckworth, Isle of Wight
Linda Beal, Monmouth Conservatives
Brian Seage, South East Cornwall Conservative Association
Richard Mackenzie, Kingston upon Hull North
John Jarrett, Southport Conservatives.
Alan Jones, North Thanet Conservatives
Steve Bodger, Tunbridge Wells Conservatives
Peter Roffey, Rutland and Melton Conservative Association
Ron Barker, West Worcestershire Conservative Association
Roger Baggott, North Cotswold Conservative Association
David J. Tyler, Stalybridge & Hyde
John Roche, Harrogate Conservatives
David J Dodd, Grantham and Stamford
Robert Johnson, Warwick and Leamington Conservative Association
Mrs Sheila Perry, Central Devon Conservative Association
Michael Perry, Central Devon Conservative Association
John Roche, Harrogate conservatives
J. J. D. Knapp, South Suffolk Association
Margot Shimmin, Torbay Conservatives
Cynthia Beesley, Aberconwy
Peter Hole, Halifax Constituency Association
Robin Morris, Taunton Conservatives
John G. Fifield