, 6 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
This is a good point and much the strongest argument in *favour* of letting party members choose the prime minister. I'd make three points in response. [Thread]
(1) Unlike the parliamentary party or the electorate, the membership can change wildly in size & composition between elections. Tory membership has risen a third in a year. Lab membership changed radically after 2015. So the members may be very different to the party we elected.
(2) Voters back a party for different reasons. Some voted Labour in 2017 because of Corbyn; some despite him. Some were Remainers, some Leavers. So the "mandate" of a party comes from a diverse coalition of voters: MPs are better attuned to that as they represent different seats.
(3) A governing party, in particular, should not overstrain its mandate. Someone who votes Labour or Conservative is not giving a blank cheque to anyone who pays the membership fee to rewrite policy in whatever way they choose. Ignoring that risks serious problems of legitimacy.
Ultimately, the mandate to govern comes from the wider electorate, not from the party membership. So when a prime minister changes, it's important that those making the decision are looking outwards to the electorate, not inwards to party members. That can only come through MPs.
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