IT has been suggested that the Boris campaign may have lent votes to Jeremy Hunt in order to eliminate the more substantial challenge from Michael Gove.

Before becoming too exorcised over this one might note that the party freely chose a selection process which invites gaming the system.

This could have been avoided using a method which gave MPs just one opportunity to express their order of preference for the candidates.

Such a system was successfully opposed by most of the Conservative Party in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum.

There was a sound reason for objecting to it, namely the potential for the ill-considered vote. Strongly partisan voters would tend to place their own party first, its main rival last and everyone else in between.

They might thus be helping to elect a candidate about whom they know nothing.

This would give unwarranted assistance to third parties and was naturally favoured by the Lib Dems. They were, however, naive to imagine that the Conservative/Labour majority would share their view.

To remedy this defect a modified version, AV Minus, has been proposed in which votes can be transferred from minor parties to major ones but not from major to minor.

The defect might be significant in a general election but surely not in a leadership contest where the entire electorate take a professional interest in politics and all the candidates are personally known to them.

Michael Gove may have reason to regret his party’s rejection of AV.

So too might David Cameron.

AV would have seen votes going from the Conservatives to UKIP on first preference but mostly returning to them as second preference, allowing him to see off the UKIP threat without the promise of a referendum on EU membership.

John Risley, Harrogate.