Conservative members are facing delays in receiving their mail-in ballots to vote for who they want to be the next party leader due to security fears.
In a letter sent to Tory members seen by Sky News, the leader of the Conservative Party members confirmed that mail-in ballots will arrive ‘a little later than originally planned’ as ‘we have been slow to add extra security ” to the process.
Members were previously due to receive their mail votes this week.
However, the email sent to members indicates that they should receive their ballots by Thursday, August 11.
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The correspondence adds that voting more than once in the ongoing leadership contest will be treated as “an offence” and warns that any member found to have voted multiple times “will have their party membership revoked”.
He adds that Conservative members can either vote by mail or online.
But the Conservative Party has confirmed that security fears forced it to abandon plans to allow members to change their vote for the next leader later in the competition.
Allies of leadership hopeful Liz Truss are believed to have feared the original rule allowing Tory members to change their vote in the contest would work to her rival Rishi Sunak’s advantage.
Under leadership contest rules, set by the 1922 Committee of Backbenchers and the Conservative Party’s board of directors, state members should vote only once, but if a “duplicate” vote is recorded, the second will be counted.
CCHQ described it as a slight delay and were unable to provide further guidance.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said: ‘We have consulted with the NCSC throughout this process and have decided to enhance security around the voting process. Eligible members will begin receiving ballots this week.’
Earlier Tuesday, a new poll suggests Ms Truss has extended her lead more Mr Sunak in the leadership race.
It comes as Mr Sunak battles to catch up in a key week of the contest for the keys to number 10.
The latest YouGov poll of Tory members from The Times newspaper shows Ms Truss’ lead has widened to 34 points in the Tory leadership race, with 60% of party members now saying they will vote for the Foreign Secretary succeeds Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
This is compared to just 26% for former Chancellor Mr Sunak.
The poll, taken over the past five days, shows that Ms Truss is now ahead of Mr Sunak in all age groups, in different parts of the country and among both men and women.
The only category where he beats Ms. Truss is among Tory Remain supporters.
The YouGov survey released on Tuesday also found nearly nine in 10 Conservative members have now decided how they will vote before the ballots come out this week.
But it will concern the two potential leaders whom more than 50% of party members believed whoever was elected to succeed Mr Johnson would lose the majority of the party in the next election.
Just 19% of members thought Mr Sunak could lead the Tories to victory, while 39% thought Ms Truss could take on a challenge from Labour.
Voting will close on September 2 and the winner is expected to be announced on September 5.
As the leadership race continues to heat up, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss will face the cameras again this week on Sky News.
Taking place on Thursday August 4 at 8pm at Sky Studios in west London, The Battle for Number 10 will see the contestants take part in back-to-back questions from the live studio audience of Conservative Party members who remain largely undecided on who to vote.
This will then be followed by an in-depth interview with Kay Burley.
The program will be broadcast live for 90 minutes and free of charge on Sky News channel 501, Freeview 233, Sky Showcase channel 106 and Sky News digital channels.