Conservative Party is “closed to new members”

Secret survey by CCHQ reveals a reluctance to accept new members among local Conservative Associatio

The Conservative Party is a far more exclusive club than previously thought. Mark Wallace has got hold of some rather alarming research that shows a rather lacklustre attitude from local Conservative associations towards those wanting to join the party. In a "mystery shopper" test, more than half did not receive a response to their application, while 10 per cent were told that the association was "closed to new members".

Apparently Andrew Feldman reported (at a meeting this morning) on a study CCHQ has carried out into the effectiveness of local Conservative Associations. In a "mystery shopper" exercise, CCHQ wrote to over 300 associations under the guise of being a person who wanted to join up, and asking how to do so.

Over half of the letters received no response at all, which is bad enough. Weirdly, a handful who wrote back said the applicant would need to pass a membership interview before they could join the Conservatives. Most worryingly, though, around 10 per cent wrote back to the pretend applicant saying they were "closed to new members".

While Labour is practically giving membership away for free, the Conservatives are a more discerning bunch. Still, at least it shows ideological consistency. The party's membership policy matches its immigration policy: we're full, you can't come in!

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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.