A lengthy and disturbing piece on ConservativeHome. An extract:
In the proposed new constitution, a whole chunk of the rules on candidate selection is simply deleted. This deleted section (from 15.1.1 to 15.2.5 in the document) sets out how an Association should go about selecting a Parliamentary candidate – it includes: the composition of a local selection committee; the rule that that committee should produce a longlist which is presented to the Association Executive for interview; and that the Executive must then shortlist ‘not less than two candidates for consideration by a General Meeting of the Association’.
In short, the section proposed for deletion is the foundation of the normal, local and democratic selection process – the very process which many members value dearly and which was ridden roughshod over in the last General Election, with disastrous results.
As ConservativeHome has argued since May, those mistakes must not be repeated, and a proper commitment to the principle of local, democratic candidate selection must be made. Deleting even the current statement of the rules from the constitution certainly does not do that. Worse, the replacement for these rules is a catch-all clause which would give total control of selection rules to the Candidates Committee:
“The selection of all candidates, including Parliamentary, Police Commissioners, Elected Mayors and local government candidates shall follow a process in accordance with rules and guidance published from time to time by the Committee on Candidates of the Board of the Party”
This is the very committee which chose and then oversaw the hugely damaging over-centralisation of candidate selection during the General Election. For candidates and Party members still upset and angry about what went on, the news that the official response is to further centralise even greater powers, and remove even the theoretical commitment to Associations controlling selections, will be distinctly unwelcome. [J4MB emphasis]
It’s obvious where this will lead, if implemented – to the Committee on Candidates insisting on a minimum number of female candidates on shortlists, and possible all-women shortlists, such as those which have been employed for years by the Labour party, resulting in toxic feminists such as Jess Phillips becoming MPs. The Conservative party already has its fair share of toxic feminist MPs, the gormless Maria Miller being a prime example.
I worked as a business consultant for the Conservative party at its London headquarters over 2006-8, and became a party member and minor donor at the time. In the autumn of 2009 David Cameron announced his intention to introduce all-women shortlists to select candidates in some constituencies for the 2010 general election. I resigned my party membership that day, and was later told many other members had done the same. Shortly afterwards I started work on my first book about gender politics, David and Goliatha: David Cameron – Heir to Harman? The front cover image was drawn by the legendary cartoonist Martin Honeysett, and consists of an outsize Harriet Harman in dungarees, holding hands with David Cameron as a schoolboy.
The full content of David and Goliatha, and much more, were included in my later book, the snappily-titled The Glass Ceiling Delusion (The Real Reasons More Women Don’t Reach Senior Positions).