The electorate for Conservative Party leadership candidates is, first, their fellow MPs, then if they succeed at that, Conservative Party members and only after that does the electorate become the public, at the general election, at local elections before then and possibly even sooner at a Parliamentary by-election.
So yes, it’s true to say that we shouldn’t expect their pitches to be simply aimed at floating voters among the public.:
And yet… parties (should) want leaders who can address the public’s biggest concerns as that’s the way to being a party in power and that’s the way for those MPs to keep their seats.
Which is why Public First’s round-up of policy pledges from Conservative leadership candidates is so striking.
On policy pledges for the NHS and social care, three quarters of the eight runners have had nothing to say.
On cost of living, only three have had something to say other than tax cuts, and one of those was only to talk about cutting the TV license fee in the future.
Or, to take something supposedly at the heart of the previous government’s work, only two have had something to pledge on levelling up.
It’s not obvious that the Conservative leadership candidates are getting their priorities right.
Sign up to get the latest news and analysis
"*" indicates required fields