The former conservative leader William Hague has urged his party to reject proposals to give its members more choices in future leadership competitions.
He said that the idea, favored by supporters of Boris Johnson, could exert undue influence on & # 39; unrepresentative minorities & # 39; and it reduces the chance that the party selects a leader with a broad appeal.
Lord Hague, now in the House of Lords, also claimed that the Labor Party – by giving members and supporters a maximum role in the leadership contest, leading to the election of Jeremy Corbyn – had undermined democracy by leaving the UK without a "moderate, easy-to-choose alternative to the government of the day".
His remarks come in the wake of the Guardian report by Tory backbenchers who warn of a risk of entryism in the party as the pro-Brexit group Leave.EU encourages its supporters to join Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees -Mogg support in a future leadership contest.
The Hague was elected Tory leader in 1997 according to the old rules, which meant that he was elected by only MPs. He replaced that with a system that allowed members to select the leader from a shortlist of two that were drafted after MEPs voted to eliminate all other contenders.
In the Daily Telegraph, The Hague wrote that in some ways it was "spectacularly wrong" when it brought the new system in, first used to choose Iain Duncan Smith in 2001.
"I believed at the time that giving a voice to members would help to increase membership and make it more representative of the country, and focus on a million members of a revived grassroots organization," he said.
"The sad reality is that since then the total number of conservative members has halved and was officially 124,000 earlier this year, most of whom are great people … But they are often the first to point out that they are not remotely representative of society in general or even their own voters. "
There is increasing interest in conservative electoral rules for party leaders due to speculation that Theresa May may face a challenge in the fall.
Johnson, who resigned as foreign minister in opposition to her Checkers Brexit plan, is favored by conservative members for the next leader, but he is widely mistrusted by MPs and he is thought to stand, he would struggle to to pick up the shortlist for voting members.
Recently, the Campaign for Conservative Democracy (CCD) said that each candidate with the support of 20 MPs should be admitted to the final ballot, but the CCD is a marginal group with few supporters and the proposal has received no support from high figures.
Without going into Johnson's possible candidacy, The Hague said it would be a mistake to change the rules in the hope that an individual would benefit from it.
He explained: "Calculations of this kind are often widespread or counterproductive and most conservative leadership struggles are a big surprise, however short-term needs create poor long-term rules."
Labor allows each candidate with the support of 10% of MPs and MEPs (compared to 15% at the time of Corbyn's election) to be included in the final vote, with the vote open to all members and registered supporters .
The Hague claimed in his article that Corbyn would never have been elected leader under the conservative rules and that he was "grossly unrepresentative" for Labor MPs and the general public.
But the election of Cobyn as Labor leader has led to the party with more than 500,000 members – over four times as many as the Tories – and in the last general election Corbyn's radicalism claimed to ruin Labor's chances, proved unfounded, with the party winning seats and votes.