UK Politics,  Your View

Open primaries for the UK?

Guest post by Jon D

I heard on Radio 5 about the Open Up petition, which aims to force every party to hold an ‘open primary’ to select it’s parliamentary candidate before next general election. If I recall correctly the well-known blogger (and unsuccessful Bracknell Tory open primary candidate) Iain Dale was in the studio backing the campaign, but I was in the car at the time and concentrating on keeping my speed strictly within the legal limit so it’s hard to be certain.

Things haven’t gone entirely smoothly with the recent Tory open primary in Macclesfield (a constituency singled out for mention in the video) with two senior members of the Conservative Association resigning.

Coun Beckford, who applied to be a candidate but was turned down by central office, said: “I have resigned because I feel disappointed with the way things have gone.”

Treasurer Mr Lea added: ” The association voted to continue the candidate selection despite there being, in my view, excessive pressure from central office and unfair and irregular practices to exclude local people from the process.

“The deputy chairman also resigned last night as he felt unable to continue given the circumstances, and I don’t blame him.”

The result of the Macclesfield Tory open primary (held 17th October) hasn’t been announced on the local Conservative Association website or the North West Conservative website yet as far as I can tell.

So would open primaries in the UK really make any difference to the current ‘parachute’ candidate selections as is claimed by the petition organisers, or would it just be more of the same old racket?