Tories heading for chaos – Boris backers trigger rules to push for leader race SUSPENSION

Bannerman calls for Boris Johnson to be on PM ballot

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Former party treasurer Lord Cruddas and Claire Bullivant, editor of the Conservative Post, have written to the Conservative Party informing them that enough party members have signed their petition calling for Mr Johnson to be on the leadership ballot to force a change of the rules. According to the Conservative Party constitution, support from more than 10,000 party members to support a rule change is one of four ways for the process to be initiated and Lord Cruddas’ petition has in excess of 15,000.

Speaking exclusively, to, Lord Cruddas, who already has a top level legal team in place to fight the issue in the High Court, has said that he intends to enter talks with senior party figures this week to suspend the leadership contest until the constitution can be amended.

It would mean that the battle between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be unable to proceed and a new Prime Minister could not be unveiled on September 5.

Lord Cruddas said: “This started being about Boris but has become something much bigger.

“This is about members having a much greater say in the party and a small group of MPs no longer being able to control who is the leader.

“We now have the 10,000 needed to initiate a change rule. The party has between 28 and 56 days to take action.

“We will be talking next week and it may not be too late to put Boris back on the ballot. The whole competition could end up having to be suspended.”

He went on: “What we have seen since the constitution was changed in 1998 was power taken away from the members and over that time the number of them has dropped from around 500,000 to maybe 120,000.

“We cannot have a leader who was democratically elected simply being removed because of a small number of people.

“The 1922 Committee has far too much power and this idea that MPs should only decide the leader is nonsense. It can’t happen.”

The 1922 Committee chaired by veteran MP Sir Graham Brady decides the leadership contest rules and holds votes of confidence when enough letters have been submitted by Tory MPs.

This week former vice chairman Sir Charles Walker provoked outrage when he proposed that party members should be excluded from voting for the leader completely instead of being given a choice of the final two.

Lord Cruddas added: “In 2016, members weren’t even given a choice because it was sewn up for Theresa May now a leader who was voted on in 2019 is being ejected.”


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He is also calling for the chairman to be elected by the members and power restored to constituencies.

If a leader loses a vote of confidence with MPs, Lord Cruddas believes ordinary members should have a vote of confidence too to confirm the result.

Many of these ideas have been proposed by the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, founded by former MEP David Campbell Bannerman and chaired by John Strafford

He pointed out that the party has between 28 and 56 days to complete the process of a rule change.

The rules state: “Upon receipt of the petition the chairman of the board shall notify all members of the constitutional college on a proposed ballot of a motion on the change of the constitution.”

It continues: “A postal or online ballot shall be conducted of all members of the constitutional college.”

Lord Cruddas dismissed claims that many of the petition signatures are fake.

He said: “We have verified all the names and dismissed the silly ones like Mickey Mouse or Vladimir Putin.

“By the time some leftwing campaigners tried to infiltrate our petition we had already passed the number of 10,000 verified members.

“So we are confident we have the number required to initiate a change.”

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