The UK Political Parties Leadership Elections

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Compare and contrast the methods used by the three main parties to elect their leaders. In the organisation of the Conservative Party, constituency associations dominate the election of party leaders and the selection of local candidates while the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) leads financing, organisation of elections and drafting of policy. The leader of the parliamentary party forms policy in consultation with his cabinet and administration. This decentralised structure is unusual. The Labour Party is a membership organisation consisting of Constituency Labour Parties, affiliated trade unions, socialist societies and the Co-operative Party, with which it has an electoral agreement. Members who are elected to parliamentary positions take part in the Parliamentary Labour Party and European Parliamentary Labour Party. The party's decision-making bodies on a national level formally include the National Executive Committee, Labour Party Conference and National Policy Forum —although in practice the Parliamentary leadership has the final say on policy. The 2008 Labour Party Conference was the first at which affiliated trade unions and Constituency Labour Parties did not have the right to submit motions on contemporary issues that would previously have been debated. Labour Party conferences now include more "keynote" addresses, guest speakers and question-and-answer sessions, while specific discussion of policy now takes place in the National Policy Forum. Choosing and removing party leaders is a significant indicator of internal party democracy is the extent to which regular members are given an input into the process by which the party leader is chosen. The current system for electing Conservative leaders was introduced in 1998 under William Hague, the Conservative Party leader at that time. Hague’s successor, Iain Duncan Smith, became the first Conservative Party leader to be elected under the new system in 2001. Under the rules established by Hague,...
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