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HAGUE CHALLENGES BLAIR OVER SELECTION OF MAYORAL CANDIDATE

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Statement by Conservative party leader William Hague announcing the first-ever primaries for a British election and...
Statement by Conservative party leader William Hague announcing the first-ever primaries for a British election and challenging the prime minister to be as democratic as the Conservative party.

'Today I can announce the first ever primary for a British election. These will take place in London, for the selection of Conservative party candidate for the London mayor. Ballot boxes will be placed in constituencies throughout the capital, for Conservative party members to choose their preferred candidate.

'This decision is another landmark in the process of change and renewal in our party.

'One of the most important choices for all political parties to make over the next 18 months will be the choice of candidate for the mayor of London. The directly elected London mayor will be a first not only for London but for Britain as a whole. Its introduction requires from the political parties a fresh way of doing things. The Conservative party has risen to the challenge.

'Our candidate for mayor will be selected by the London members themselves by 'one member, one vote'.

'In moving to this open and democratic way of selecting a candidate for this historic election, the Conservative party is demonstrating how quickly it is changing. A party which shows it can trust its London membership can be relied upon to trust Londoners as a whole. A party which is open with its members can be relied upon to be open with the public. A party which believes in decentralisation in its own decision-making can be trusted also to decentralise power to London's local communities.

'Today I challenge the prime minister to follow the lead that the Conservative party has given. I challenge him to be as open and as democratic as the Conservative party and to let Labour's London members decide their candidate by one member one vote'.

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