The Election of the Party Leader by Activists: Labour’s Electoral College

  • R. M. Punnett
Part of the Contemporary Political Studies book series (CONTPOLSTUD)


Most political parties have a conference (or congress, convention or assembly) that meets annually or on some other regular basis. The conference’s role and composition varies greatly from one party to another, but its functions often include the selection of the party leader and the periodic review of his performance. Some parties have a special body, additional to the regular conference, that is summoned for the specific purpose of selecting the leader. Both ‘regular’ and ‘special’ gatherings, however, share the basic feature that the selection of the leader is placed in the hands of activists whose place in the party organization lies between that of the Parliamentarians and the mass of the members and voters.


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  1. 2.
    For comments on the 1981 contest see A. Browne, Tony Benn (London, 1983);Google Scholar
  2. Dennis Healey, The Time of My Life (London, 1989).Google Scholar
  3. 23.
    F. J. Sorauf and P. A. Beck, Party Politics in America (Boston, 1988), p. 312.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© R. M. Punnett 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Punnett
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StrathclydeUK

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