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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy