Tory leadership contest: Loophole 'allows non-British citizens to vote for next PM'

Tory leadership contest: Loophole 'allows non-British citizens to vote for next PM'
Race to become UK PM down to final two: Rishi Sunak and ...

The Conservative Party allows non-British citizens to vote in Tory leadership elections, thereby determining who the next prime minister will be, while those living in the UK but are not members of the party have no such say.

Members of Conservatives Abroad, the party's global network of members and supporters living overseas, can get "all the benefits of party membership, including participation in the Conservative Policy Forum, attendance at party conferences and a vote in the election of the party leader," its website says.

It adds: "Membership of Conservatives Abroad is open to all who live abroad and pledge support for the UK Conservative Party. You do not have to be a voter or a UK citizen."

It continues: "You do not have to be eligible to vote in the UK to join the Conservative Party or Conservatives Abroad."

Membership of the group costs £25 a year or £5 for those under the age of 26. Meanwhile, people who join the Conservative Party are entitled to voting rights after being a member of the party for three months. This means only members who joined on or before 3rd June 2022 will receive a ballot in the upcoming vote.

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On the other hand, just 0.2 per cent of the British public who are members of the Conservative party (the total figure is around 175,000) can vote for either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss to be the new PM after Boris Johnson finally ran out of road a few short weeks ago, and resigned.

Speaking to BBC News this week, David Mellor, who was a cabinet minister under John Major highlighted this controversy, saying: "Why should 0.2 per cent of the British public determine who the next prime minister is? Most of them white men of a certain age as well. I would be an ideal Conservative party member but I'm not proud of that fact."

Concerns have also been raised about how watertight the process of joining the group is, and a number of people have claimed on Twitter that they were able to join with "spoofed" details.

As well as those, indy100 attempted to join Conservatives Abroad and was allowed to submit payment, thought we chose not to at this stage, by entering a fake name "Tory Voter" and submitting a randomly generated address in Berlin, Germany.

We find out who becomes the next PM on 5th September. We just wish we knew who was making that decision for us.

indy100 has contacted the Conservative Party and Conservatives Abroad to comment on this story.

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