Saturday, July 11, 2015

How many leadership elections?

I've recently been asked a few questions about leadership elections by people from other parties and none. They seemed to assume as a Conservative I would know a lot about them.

But let's remember the record on all this. The last Conservative leadership election was in 2005. In the time since the other parties in the Commons have had leadership elections as follows: [1]
  • Labour are now onto their third leadership election.
  • The Liberal Democrats are also on their third leadership election.
  • Ukip have had three leadership elections plus the unresignation of Nigel Farage.
  • The English & Welsh Greens didn't even have a post of leader in 2005 but have since created one and had two leadership elections.
  • The Ulster Unionist Party have had also had two leadership elections.
  • So too have the Social Democratic and Labour Party.
  • The Scottish National Party have had one leadership election.
  • As has the Democratic Unionist Party.
  • Plaid Cymru have had one leadership election plus a set of rule changes to work out who the leader is. [2]
  • Even the sole Independent MP, Sylvia Hermon, has sort of had one as she left the UUP to go independent in 2010.
  • Only Sinn Féin have had a longer period without a leadership contest and they don't even take their seats.
It's a remarkable change from the period 1995-2005.

[1] I've excluded formal re-elections of the incumbent unopposed as each party has different rules and this would skew things.
[2] Plaid Cymru didn't have a clear position of "leader" until 2006 and this became a problem when Ieuan Wyn Jones stood down as party President in 2003 with none of his colleagues in the Welsh parliament standing for the position, creating a separate election for group leader which he won. This led to a period of confusion about who was the "leader" of Plaid until 2006 when a constitutional change made the Sennedd group leader the overall party leader.

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