New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Politics
  2. Elections
2 September 2019

How do you deselect a Tory MP?

What is the process for stopping a Conservative member of parliament from standing in the next general election?

By Anoosh Chakelian

“Deselection” has in recent political history been associated with the Labour party.

Since Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the fight between members and MPs for influence has created multiple headlines about the threat of deselections in local Labour parties – ie. allowing members to ditch their current MP and decide who they’d like to stand in the following election.

Labour members were eventually given a bit more power in the process of picking their candidates, but it’s turned out to be Conservative MPs who have more to fear.

Remain-minded Tory MPs Dominic Grieve and Phillip Lee have lost non-binding votes of no confidence by their local parties, called Conservative Associations, and ex-Tory MPs Anna Soubry, Nick Boles, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston also faced local deselection threats.

Now No 10 is warning that any Tory MP rebelling on an attempt to block no-deal in the Commons this week will have the whip withdrawn, and will be unable to stand again as a Tory candidate.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

So how does it work?

You can find the whole process in the constitution, but I’ll break it down here:

Usually just a matter of formality, the incumbent Conservative MP must apply in writing to their local party’s executive council to be selected to run again in the next election. They can send this at any time during a parliament, but the executive can also request it.

Then the executive holds a secret ballot to vote on whether or not to choose the individual again.

If the MP loses this vote, they can request that the entire membership of the local party votes on whether or not to keep them. This is via a postal vote, and the MP can send a single piece of A4 to members making their case.

Alternatively, they can request their automatic addition to the list of potential candidates nominated by a local party panel called the candidate selection committee, which is then whittled down to two by the executive. These two are then put to a general meeting (which all local party members can attend) for the selection of the prospective parliamentary candidate.

These wouldn’t be options for MPs who’d lost the whip and were barred from standing, however. They’d have to stand separate from the party as independents if they still wanted to represent the constituency.

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change