For parts of the conservative right, the last six months have been nightmarish.

Golden-boy Boris Johnson was defenestrated by his ruthless party, only for his heir, Liz Truss, to be booted out in the blink of an eye by Davos-dad Rishi Sunak, despite her resounding endorsement by Tory members.

The whiff of a stitch-up is in the air, and the newly-minted Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO) wants to do something about it.

The grassroots alliance, which includes ex-home secretary Priti Patel among its senior leadership, argues that the Conservative party’s constitution must be overhauled to give members more of a say in how it’s run.

“In short, many of us are fed up with having left-wing candidates and a left-wing agenda imposed on us from above,” Lord Peter Cruddas, the Tory peer who is the group’s president, and David Campbell Bannerman, the group’s chairman, write in Conservative Post. “We are in the Conservative Party, not Labour, for a reason.”

As well as some sensible-sounding proposals to cut out chumocracy (“the excessive influence of friends, contacts, family, and spouses over the government”) from the Tory machinery, the CDO wants to change leadership election rules that (very indirectly) delivered us Sunak. 

Cruddas and Bannerman write: “For the MPs’ voting stage, we suggest moving towards a preferential vote system, which should end the damaging emphasis on deal-making, patronage, and job offers currently dominating proceedings.

“We think there should be a threshold of 15 per cent of MPs in order to stand as a candidate. The 1922 Committee’s rules will be more closely integrated into the Party Constitution and made more transparent.”

One minister told The i’s Hugo Gye that the CDO “looks like a budget front organisation for Bring Back Boris”. Lord Cruddas denies this.

Yet Conservative Post, the grassroots news outlet which started the CDO, organised a petition in the summer for Johnson to be included on the ballot for the leadership election. It now has the details of around 74,000 sympathisers.

If a plot were afoot to bring back Boris, this is how it would start. 

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