Dear Members of the Conservative Party Board,
As you know, the next meeting of the Conservative Party Board is scheduled for Monday the 23rd of April (St. George’s Day,) where the issue of how our Conservative MEP candidates are selected will be discussed and the method decided upon.
The very fact that the Party Board even has to discuss this issue has created doubt amongst grassroots members and increasing concern within all levels of the Conservative party - and with good reason. In 2005 during the Conservative Party leadership elections, the party hierarchy attempted to remove members’ rights to vote on who became party leader. Thankfully, such an unjust, undemocratic and unfair situation was averted.
Trusting people is a core conservative principle which our party has held dear for decades and sets us firmly apart from the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats. It is imperative that we maintain the democratic rights of party members, or how can we go to the country at the next elections claiming that Gordon Brown or Labour are ‘authoritarian’ when we do not even allow our own members a vote on such a basic premise as selecting European candidates?
The Conservative party should continue to be a bastion of liberty and democratic principle. We urge you to seriously consider the implications of any proposals, and draw the conclusion that, we the undersigned and the supporters of our campaign have come to; that the only acceptable outcome from the meeting of the Conservative Party Board is an unanimous approval of party democracy in the continuation of grassroots members’ democratic rights to rank and select European candidates at regional hustings on the basis of one person, one vote.
Chris Palmer (MEP Watch), Richard Hyslop (MEP Watch), Andrew Woodman (MEP Watch), Tim Montgomerie (ConservativeHome), Samuel Coates (ConservativeHome), Donal Blaney (Young Britons’ Foundation), Iain Dale (Iain Dale’s Diary).
UPDATE: More on ConservativeHome HERE.