What happened last October when Liz Truss resigned underlines the need to look again at the rules under which a Tory leader is elected, as Alistair Lexden argued in a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on 20 September.
SIR - Sir Jake Berry has revealed that, as party chairman at the time of Liz Truss’s resignation last October, he was put under pressure “for the membership vote to be scrapped” (report, September 18).
In her resignation statement, Ms Truss said that she and Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, had agreed that her successor should be chosen “in the next week”. The 1922 Committee set aside the rules formally agreed in 1998, and decreed that each candidate in the October 2022 election must have 100 nominees. It was assumed at the time that the aim of this arbitrary revision of the rules was to produce a single candidate from among MPs and avoid a vote among the party membership .
Sir Jake’s recollections confirm that view. It also raises the issue of where final authority over the election process lies. Does it rest with the 1922 Committee, or with the much less well-known Party Board, which is supposed to represent the party as a whole?
This point needs to be clarified, and the rules themselves re-examined to produce a clearly defined set of arrangements covering unexpected contingencies which will be faithfully followed when elections take place.