Poll shows majority of British voters would welcome US-style primaries

 

Six people out of 10 would take part in an American-style primary election to choose a parliamentary candidate in their constituency, according to a new survey.

Almost four in 10 people said they would vote in a primary even if they first had to pay £1 a year to become a registered supporter of their favoured party.

The YouGov poll was conducted for the Labour Uncut blog after Ed Miliband announced that Labour would choose its candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral election in a primary open to all Londoners who become registered supporters of the party.

Writing on The Independent’s website, Rob Marchant, of Labour Uncut, said primaries would help Labour avoid a repeat of the controversy over candidate selection in Falkirk, where the Unite union was accused of rigging the contest to secure the nomination of its favoured candidate. Labour later scrapped its disciplinary process after key witnesses withdrew their evidence. Yesterday, the Conservatives accused Mr Miliband of “backing down to his paymasters’ demands” after a review of Labour’s links with the unions suggested a delay in any move to dilute the unions’ 50 per cent share of the vote at the party’s annual conference and its 33 per cent share when Labour elects its leader.

Lord (Ray) Collins, Labour’s former general secretary, said in his interim report that plans for union members to “opt in” to backing the party financially would “take time to implement”.

He added: “We need to consider how, once this new system is in place, we would address consequences for other structures in the party, such as the conference and the electoral college to elect our leader and deputy leader.” Lord Collins suggested that primaries could be used in parliamentary selections when an MP is standing down or “where the local party has dwindled”.

According to YouGov, 60 per cent of the public would take part in an “open” primary in their constituency if registered supporters of their favoured party were allowed to take part. Only 20 per cent said they would not and 20 per cent replied “don’t know”.

Some 74 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters, 69 per cent of Labour supporters and 63 per cent of Tory supporters would take part. So would 77 per cent of members of unions affiliated to Labour, even though using primaries would dilute union influence in candidate selection.

Asked whether they would vote in a primary election if non-party members had to pay £1 a year to become a registered supporter, 38 per cent of the public said they would. Although 37 per cent would not, and 25 per cent replied “don’t know”, the findings suggests that thousands of non-party members are ready to play a part in choosing the candidate of the party they favour.

Some 50 per cent of Labour supporters say they would pay £1 a year and take part in a primary, as would 46 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters and 38 per cent of Tory supporters.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee