Peter Hoskin

Why Labour will copy the Tory open primaries

Why Labour will copy the Tory open primaries
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In its lunchtime email, LabourList asks whether Labour should now adopt the Tory idea of open primaries to select candidates.  To be honest, I can't see them doing anything but.  Not only is the Tory primary getting good coverage in today's press - and rightly so - as a decent reforming measure.  But, for the time being, it's also one of the best potential get-out-of-jail-free cards for a constituency party caught up in an expenses scandal.

How so? Well, the theory is that if you give all voters a chance to pick a single party's candidate, then they're somehow invested in that candidate and will be more likely to vote for them come election time.  In other words: the votes lost due to ill will against the outgoing Receipt Offender could be recouped by goodwill towards the incoming People's Choice.  

Sure, we won't know for certain whether it will work like that until the next election.  And the effect may not help Labour candidates so much, given the unpopularity of the government.  But it's a straw I doubt they'll fail to clutch at.