Labour’s electoral college for choosing its leader means there can be a split result (party members voting one way but union members and/or MPs voting more strongly the other way), and a new leader can come to office facing jeers of ‘you’re the choice of the unions, your own party members didn’t want you’. This is what happened to Ed Miliband and it’s embarrassing.
Now there are moves afoot to give the wider public a say in leadership elections, by allowing them to register as supporters for free:
How registered supporters could be involved in leadership elections will not be detailed tomorrow, but [Peter] Hain said they could be given their own section in the electoral college of MPs, individual members and affiliates.
Please, no. The party should scrap the electoral college and have everyone’s vote going into the same pot. Otherwise the risk of embarrassment will grow.
Making a big show of reaching out to members of the public who are not normally into party politics is fine. But if they’re going to be given a say in party elections, it will risk looking terrible if they can then be outvoted.
Don’t put the party in a position where a future leader can come to office facing the even more embarrassing jeers of ‘you’re the choice of the party machine, the public didn’t want you’.