Petition to get Boris Johnson on Tory ballot can be signed by non-party members

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The validity of the petition to add Boris Johnson to the Conservative leadership ballot has been brought into question after it emerged that anyone can sign it, even if they are not Tory party members.

Lord Cruddas and former MEP David Campbell Bannerman, who are championing the Conservative Post petition,have suggested that every person signing petition is verified by their party membership number.

Despite claims that around 12,000 valid Tory members have signed the petition in the eight days it has been live, it transpires that anyone can add their name to back Mr Johnson, whether they have joined the Conservatives or not.

i was able to sign it on behalf of the outgoing Prime Minister himself.

When asked for Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party membership number, the online form explained: “If you don’t know your membership number enter ‘0’ for now and provide your address below”.

After entering ‘0’ as the Prime Minister’s membership number and giving his address as No 10 Downing Street, the signature was accepted by Conservative Post.

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The names of all those who sign the petition will be sent to Andrew Stephenson, Chairman of the Conservative Party.

In an interview with The Telegraph, former Tory treasurer Lord Cruddas, who Mr Johnson recommended for a peerage, claimed that the outgoing Prime Minister “wants to fight the next general election as leader of the Conservative Party”.

He added that Mr Johnson had told him he was “enjoying following” the petition and “rooting for your campaign to succeed”.

Lord Cruddas, who first sat in the upper chamber in February 2021, made his fortune after founding online trading company CMC Markets. The billionaire has donated more than £3 million to the Conservatives since 2010.

At the time of his appointment, Downing Street took the unusual step of publishing an open letter from Mr Johnson to Paul Bew, the chair of the Lords Appointments Commission, explaining why he was putting Cruddas in the upper house without its approval.

Days after being made becoming a peer, Lord Cruddas donated £500,000 to the Conservative Party, the largest cash sum the tycoon had ever gifted to the party.

Lord Cruddas, Mr Campbell Bannerman and Conservative Post were contacted for comment but did not respond.

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