Democracy lacking in the race to be prime minister | Letters

Readers air their views on Brexit and the Tory leadership race

Polly Toynbee rightly attacks the unprecedented system whereby a small number of Conservative party members are choosing our next prime minister and possibly determining the Brexit outcome (Britain is now a remain nation. We can halt this rush to Brexit, 25 June). By voting for MPs of a particular party, we do not vote to put the rank and file members of that party in a position of authority over us. We have little idea who those members are, as there are no published lists, and in this case a large proportion of them were not members at all when we last voted but have joined since (often apparently from Ukip). It is puzzling that this undemocratic practice is being so passively accepted. Non-passive readers can sign the petition on the parliament website: “Outlaw the choosing of the prime minister by party members who are not MPs.
Dr Dorian Gerhold
Putney, London

• Dawn Foster has missed a crucial issue by presenting Tory Brexiteers as ignoring risks of Brexit breaking up the United Kingdom (Brexit zealots on course to split the UK, 25 June). For some Tories a breakup may be a key, long-sought gain. In the mid-1970s I first heard the dictum, relayed from a prominent Tory journalist: “Find a way to get Scotland and Wales out of parliament and we’d have watertight Conservative rule forever.” While many Tories don’t seek breakup of the union, there may be an influential Tory cadre who do. And are not their calculations accurate? Brexit might indeed prove the ultimate tool for Tories to “take back control” and remodel England like putty.
Charles Patmore
York

• The government’s forthcoming spending review appears not to have figured largely in the two Conservative leadership contenders’ recent spending pledges (Jeremy Hunt pushes for defence spending to rise by a quarter, theguardian.com, 24 June). In March, the government announced that its 2019 review would set departmental budgets, including three-year budgets for resource spending, if an EU exit deal is agreed. One would therefore reasonably expect that input to the review might be invited from the whole of government, not just the PM.
Neil Hornsby
Inverness

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