Disgruntled Tory members are trying to force a rule change to veto Johnson’s resignation

8.700 members have signed a petition which could change the rules

Boris Johnson

Disgruntled Tory members are seeking to force a rule change to allow party members a veto on whether to accept Boris Johnson’s resignation. A petition, being run on the ConservativePost website has been signed by 8,700 Tory members – according to reports in The Telegraph.

The Conservative Party’s rulebook allows for proposals to amend the party’s constitution to be initiated by a petition signed by 10,000 party members. That means the party could be forced to change its rules if a further 1,300 members add their name to the petition.

A former treasurer of the Conservative Party – Lord Cruddas – is driving the petition. He told The Telegraph, “I believe it is only a matter of time before the 10,000 threshold is met. We have had 250 new signatures in the last 24 hours that look legitimate. The ballot will still go ahead regardless of who is elected. We want a simple ballot on whether to accept Johnson’s resignation regardless of who the new leader is. If members vote not to accept Johnson’s resignation, that would leave the new leader in an untenable position. They would have been elected against the wishes of members.”

The petition reads, “I accept that there are current rules in place that we will have a choice between the final two candidates but that is not the point because our first choice has been removed without our involvement”, and concludes with, “I demand Boris Johnson is added to the ballot as an option for the members to vote upon in the forthcoming election.”

According to The Telegraph, a spokesperson for the Conservative Party said, “Neither the constitution or rules of this leadership election can be changed retrospectively.”

Recent polling from Opinium found that a substantial majority of both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak supporters would prefer Johnson to stay on as prime minister.

The sheer number of Tory members seeking to change the rulebook to allow Johnson to stay on as PM is bad news for both Truss and Sunak. A significant chunk of the party membership is trying to cling on to the disgraced outgoing premier is hardly a ringing endorsement for either of the candidates in the running…

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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