James Forsyth

Substantial turnout in Totnes open primary

Substantial turnout in Totnes open primary
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Conservative Home is reporting that turnout in the Totnes open primary is 25 percent. This is quite remarkable and a real vindication of the idea of open primaries: remember that the UK turnout in the European elections was only 34 percent.

In Totnes, the Tory majority is less than 2,000. But by holding an open primary, the Tories have created a situation where one in four voters has been involved in the selection of their candidate. This must give the Tory candidate a significant head-start in terms of both name recognition and people feeling connected to them.

I suspect that the success of the Totnes experiment means that the Tories will use open primaries in a slew of the other seats where they have yet to select a candidate.

PS Matthew Parris was the moderator for the hustings in Totnes and his thoughts on the whole process are well worth reading.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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