Change Tory Leadership Rules To Help A Brexiteer Succeed Theresa May, Says MP

The fight is on for control of the party.
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The Conservative Party leadership election rules should be changed to make it more likely a pro-Brexit candidate succeeds Theresa May, a prominent MP has said.

Andrea Jenkyns, the Tory MP for Morley and Outwood, said as a majority of party members backed Brexit “they should be fully represented in any future leadership elections”.

“So we should be considering reforming the rules to allow for a members’ choice on the ballot, or a third ‘people’s’ candidate to join the two put forward by the parliamentary party,” she wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“No more betrayal of our supporters,” she added.

Jenkyns is a vocal critic of the prime minister’s Brexit plan and praised Boris Johnson for quitting as foreign secretary over it.

Currently only two leadership candidates chosen by MPs go to a final vote of the membership.

The system is seen as making it harder for Johnson to make it onto the ballot as he is thought to be more popular with the party’s members, than with its MPs.

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Former Conservative leader William Hague yesterday warned against changing the rules to give the grassroots too much say.

He said this risked opening up the party to entryism from the right, just as Labour’s rules changed had seen a surge in new members from the left.

Leave.EU, a hard Brexit campaign group, has urged its supporters to “flood” the Tory party to ensure a “true Brexiteer” like Johnson becomes prime minister.

Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary, told HuffPost UK there was now a “battle for the future direction of the party” and urged “liberal” Conservative voters to join the party to fight off the hard-right.

Philip Lee, a pro-Remain former minister, has said it was “time to wake up and act against a hard-right Momentum”.

And George Freeman, Tory MP and former head of the No.10 policy board, warned: “We must resist pressure from Nigel Farage - an unaccountable unelected rabble -rouser pushing a hard-right nationalist agenda - to distort the Conservative membership.”