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Conservative Party Members’ Rights by John Penrose MP (1997)

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Whilst in charge of policy research at the Bow Group, a long-established and highly-respected Conservative think-tank, John wrote and published a paper that made recommended fundamental changes to the way the Conservative Party was run. In particular, he proposed giving individual Party members a vote in selecting the leader (previously it was only done by MPs), as a way of broadening both the Conservative Party’s membership and, ultimately, it’s elected representatives (particularly MPs) to match the rest of the country more closely.

In 1998, immediately after William Hague became leader, John's recommendation for members to elect the Party Leader was adopted. Since then the Party’s membership has become steadily more diverse and, under David Cameron’s leadership, so have its MPs.

Results so far

Members Elect Party Leader

More diverse membership and elected representatives

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