Georgia Kernell in the News! Washington Post – Analysis

U.K. Conservatives are in trouble if they can’t choose a leader quickly

Conservative members of Parliament don’t want the ‘mad swivel-eyed loons’ deciding who replaces Liz Truss as party leader

British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation in London last week, ending the shortest-lived prime ministership (45 days) in British history. Truss’s tenure appeared to be doomed shortly after she announced her tax plan, leading to an uproar and a rapid fall in Conservative support in public opinion polls. In her resignation speech, Truss promised the public a new prime minister in one week’s time. If this actually happens, it will be an astonishingly fast turnaround, unprecedented in modern history. But the Tories need to move fast if they want to avoid a general election.

Whoever is selected will be the Conservatives’ fifth prime minister in under seven years. Does this mean that the party is in an existential crisis? Alternatively, is the party just brutally efficient at responding when a leader loses public confidence?

Members can play an important role in choosing party leaders

In Britain, each party sets its own rules for how it selects a leader. With both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, dues-paying party members choose among a list of candidates through a rank-order ballot. The candidate receiving the fewest votes is eliminated, and their votes are reallocated to their voters’ second choices. The process, also called single transferrable vote, is repeated until a single candidate wins a majority. This means that ordinary party members (members of the public who pay the party membership fee) are the key deciders.

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