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Boris’s ascent to No 10 will be another step towards excusing hatred

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160,000 Conservative Party members are in the process of choosing Britain’s next prime minister – that’s 0.34 per cent of the electorate. By dint of the fact we are a parliamentary democracy with a broken two-party, first-past-the-post electoral system, this is what we are saddled with until we elect a government that is prepared to change it.

The Tory membership is in no way representative of modern Britain in its make-up, never mind its views. The ESRC Party Membership Project – run by Professor Tim Bale and others at Queen Mary, University of London – is the most extensive study of the membership of the UK political parties available and they have examined who these members are.

The average age of a UK citizen is 40, over 65s make up around 18 per cent of the population, and those aged between 24 and 18 make up 9 per cent of the population. On this measure, the Tory party is in no way representative. The Project found that the average age of a Tory party member is 57, significantly older, with 38 per cent of Tory party members aged 66 and over, and 7 per cent between 25 and 18 years old.

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Tory members are not represented by gender or ethnicity either. The population is split more or less equally between the genders, yet three-quarters of Tory members are men. Whereas around 14 per cent of the population is of an ethnic minority background, just 3 per cent of Tory party members are non-white.

And they are a lot richer than the average Brit too. A large majority of Tory members are drawn from high earners. The average salary in the UK is around £29,500 but 4 out........

© Independent