An article in the Times this week highlighted the ongoing debate over Tory ‘open’ primaries noting the dismay of some Tory MP’s at the ‘unintended consequences’ of the selection method. The discontent stems from Congleton where last weekend Fiona Bruce, head of a community law firm in Warrington, triumphed over Mathew Hancock, Mr Osborne’s chief of staff.
As most herald the success of all-postal ballots the loosening of control over candidate choice has predictably ruffled some feathers. The argument though largely dismissed in the case of Congleton is that open primaries are vulnerable to particular interest groups an accusation not supported by research or the Open Up campaign!
In Congleton out of 220 participants, 35 members of Fiona Bruce’s local church took part in the primary leading to one Shadow Minister’s fear of religious groups mobilising support:
“We do not want the Tory Party to become like the Republican Party in this respect”.