Conservative leadership election: How many Tory party members are there?

·2-min read
Tory party members will vote for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak in a ballot. (Getty Images)
Tory party members will vote for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak in a ballot. (Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the final two contenders in the Tory leadership race, after Penny Mordaunt was eliminated in the last round.

Mr Sunak received 137 votes, Ms Truss won 113, and Ms Mordaunt won 105, in the final ballot.

Now, the former chancellor and the foreign secretary are both hoping to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, but they will need the votes of the Conservative party members if they hope to succeed.

Tory party members will be able to vote in a ballot which will be open until 5pm on Friday, September 2. The winner will then be announced on September 5.

How many Conservative party members are there?

There are around 160,000 Conservative party members.

Only members who have been members for at least three months before the ballot closing are entitled to vote, which means that only those who were members on or before June 3 will receive a ballot.

This means that people cannot join the party now solely with the intention of voting in the leadership race.

How many Conservative MPs are there?

There are currently 357 Conservative MPs, compared to Labour’s 200. The Conservative party

There are 44 Scottish National Party MPs, 14 Liberal Democrats, 10 Independent MPs, eight Democratic Unionist Party MPs, and seven Sinn Féin MPs.

Plaid Cymru has three MPs, the Alba Party and the Social Democratic & Labour Party each have two, while the Alliance Party and Green Party each have one.

The Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is also an MP but does not vote. The House of Commons has 650 seats in total.

Why are Conservatives called Tories?

While the word Tory may seem like an informal term for Conservative, it’s actually older.

The term Tory was used during the Exclusion Crisis between 1679 and 1681: the Tories were a political faction that supported Charles II’s brother James’ right to the throne.

Later, in the 1830s, under the leadership of Sir Robert Peel, the party began using the term “Conservative,” as it became more modern.

Despite the new name, the term Tory endured and eventually Conservative and Tory were interchangeable.

The term was originally pejorative, as it comes from the Irish Gaelic word tóraidhe, which means outlaw.