The Selection of the Party Leader
This chapter serves as a trenchant attack upon the received wisdom that the procedure has been antidemocratic, and shows that the main concern of the party during the 13 leadership changes which occurred between 1902 and 1990 was to avoid the danger of a split. It explains that, for the Conservatives, winning power has always been the crucial test, and hence it was essential to choose a leader who could unify the party and ensure the maximum change of electoral victory. The chapter discusses that the three contested elections after the adoption of a voting system in 1965 all testify to the success of its designers. It explains that throughout the century it has been the rank-and-file Conservative MPs who have carried more weight than the inner circle in determining the ultimate choice of leader, and thus of the whole orientation of the party.
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