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
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower