YOUR VOTE COUNTS The banner headline of the Leader 23rd July.
Was I the only person who was unaware until that date that just five days later the Conservative Association would be conducting an ‘historic open primary election’ to determine the selection of Sir Peter Tapsell’s successor? Was I also alone in being unable to register in order to be permitted to attend the event and to exercise my right to vote?
The headline implied the public were being invited to vote and this was supported by the one small paragraph at the foot of the front page which gave a contact number and deadline date for the CA for those wanting to register to vote.
Prior to the deadline, which was 6p.m Thursday, 24th July, just one day after the publication of the Leader, I telephoned the number, left a voice-mail message expressing my interest and asked for my call to be returned.
There has been no response to that call. Further investigation via the internet led me to the Louth and Horncastle Conservative Association’s website page dated 7th July which announced the three ways in which one could register to attend the open primary.
I also attempted, unsuccessfully, to register via the CA’s website and to date have not received a response to the email I sent. The web page also stated that transport to the venue in Spilsby would be available for people living outside Louth and Horncastle who wished to attend the election.
I do not recall this information being made available via any local media to those of us who are not active supporters or members of the CA.
It would appear to indicate that the LHCA had deliberately delayed publicising the election in order to restrict the public attendance.
Was that because the deal had already been done? Had Conservative central office instructed the local organisation to select a female in order to support their claim to welcome women MPs?
Perhaps the Louth and Horncastle Conservative Association would welcome an opportunity to confirm the number of members of the public who were able to attend and participate in the election process?
Would the LHCA also explain why three secret ballots were deemed to be an appropriate part of the selection process? Who made that decision? and just who were those who voted in those ballots? Certainly I was unable to exercise my right to vote.
I should be interested to hear the CA’s justification for conducting such an important election in this manner.
Sir Peter has had a long and distinguished career and is greatly respected by his constituents and fellow parliamentarians.
In my opinion, this is a disgraceful way to elect his successor. Sir Peter’s view on the subject will, no doubt, remain private.