, 7 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Another interesting thread challenging my argument that party members should not choose the leader. Some responses follow.
1. First, I'd question the "surely": I don't think this is self-evident. It's a recent change & we should debate its merits. Choosing a prime minister is not an internal party matter: it's an intervention in the govt of the country & we should think carefully about how it's done.
2. We could, of course, generate a convention that a change of Prime Minister must trigger a general election, but I think we'd regret that in other circumstances. It would raise the bar substantially against removing a PM who was sick, hit by scandal or no longer able to govern.
3. It's true that the parliamentary arithmetic won't change, however one chooses the leader. But we make matters worse, not better, if we hand the choice to a group who don't have to think about Parliament at all & whose favoured candidate is even less able to command a majority.
4. Whether we approach this from the principle of democracy (where does the authority to govern come from?) or the smooth working of the constitution (how do we break gridlock between Parliament & the Executive?), it's hard to justify letting party members appoint the PM.
5. It's true that, technically, Tory MPs could refuse to support the new leader as prime minister. But they could do so only by blowing up their own party, bringing down the govt & invoking the fury of the party machine. A choice between surrender and suicide is too high a bar.
6. I appreciate that this is an eccentric drum to bang, but it matters to our democracy & to the viability of our parliamentary institutions. We have to stop handing over powers that are essential to our democracy to a fee-paying, members-only club. Expect more tuneless thudding!
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