3 Things You Ought To Question About How Tories Vote For The Next PM

Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will replace Boris Johnson as prime minister by September (Photo: Getty)
Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will replace Boris Johnson as prime minister by September (Photo: Getty)

Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will replace Boris Johnson as prime minister by September (Photo: Getty)

There are just two weeks left in the race to be the next Conservative Party leader – and the next prime minister.

Liz Truss, the current foreign secretary, is the frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson, but former chancellor Rishi Sunak remains optimistic that he might have a chance of securing that seat in No.10.

Either way, the country will have a new leader by September 6.

As the Tories remain the party with the majority of seats in the House of Commons and this is not a general election, only Conservative Party members get to choose who leads them (and the rest of the UK) until the next election.

Understandably, this has thrown up some questions about this process.

1. What do we really know about Tory Party members?

The Conservative Party will not reveal how many members it has, although the most common estimate is 160,000. A briefing paper from the House of Commons library in 2019 suggests there are 180,000 members – still a tiny fraction of the general population.

According to news outlet Tortoise, the party’s headquarters will not give away details of their membership for “GDPR reasons”, although the news organisation later sent a letter to CCHQ pointing out that knowing the membership make-up was an essential part of the UK democracy.

The news outlet is still waiting for a response from the party about just who is an official member.

2. Are there any restrictions over who can vote?

People cannot vote unless they’ve been a member of the Conservative Party for three months prior to September 2, when the election closes.

But, foreign nationals can vote if they’re a member. They do not have to have a British citizenship, or any link with the UK, to vote in this race.

Those under 18 who cannot legally vote in a general election are also permitted to cast a vote in the Tory leadership election.

3. How secure are the votes?

Members can vote via post or online, but security worries did actually force the party to drop preliminary plans which would have allowed members to change their cast votes at the start of August.

Now, if a duplicate vote is recorded, the second one will be counted.

The original plan was dropped after the National Cyber Security Centre announced: “As you would expect from the UK’s national cybersecurity authority we provided advice to the Conservative party on security considerations for online leadership voting.”

Lord Cruddas, who led the campaign to put Johnson back on the ballot paper, suggested that hacking fears mean the Conservatives “should reject the resignation of the prime minister and ask him to stay on board whilst the board fixes any cyber issues and the leadership campaign can be revisited”.

Sky News also revealed at the start of August that the Conservatives were posting out the leadership ballots “a little later than we originally said” because they had to add some extra security measures to the process.

At the moment, voting more than once in the process is also considered an “offence” and anyone found doing so would have their membership withdrawn.

However, according to Tortoise’s reporting, there are few checks that voters are who they say they are.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

Published by anthonyhayble

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