Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure”

by Stephen Tall on July 9, 2010

With the Labour party claiming an influx of new recruits, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Reading East at the last election, Gareth Epps, has written to The Guardian pointing out the Lib Dems too have seen a significant increase in new members:

Your report (7 July) of a “surge” in Labour membership makes claims about recruits from the Liberal Democrats. Labour’s claims are Walter Mittyish. My local Lib Dem party has had its most sustained membership boost since the 1988 merger. Since the election, we have had 10 members joining for each departure. As Labour’s crocodile tears continue over cuts they know they would have had to make, Lib Dems on the ground are doing rather well.

Cllr Gareth Epps
Reading, Berkshire

Anecdotal evidence from our members-only forum thread on membership numbers suggests Gareth’s experience of a net increase in Lib Dem membership since the election is by no means unique.

I’ve seen no national figures from the party, though there were unsourced reports that we attracted over 1,000 new members in the lead up to polling day.

What is unknowable, of course, is whether this trend can be continued if and when we’re two or three years into coalition; and whether some members disappointed by the coalition may allow their membership quietly to lapse.

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9 comments

New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Stephen Tall on July 9, 2010 at 11:34 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall: New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Matt Smith on July 9, 2010 at 11:37 am. Reply #

I imagine we gained a significant number in the campaign. Since then I would be very surprised indeed if we had made a net gain. Most members do not leave suddenly or in a way that can be monitored accurately short term. People tend to become unhappy with the direction or policy and then drift away or not renew. We will only be able to see who has left in a few months time, certainly not yet.

I can only speak for my part of the country but I know that our flow of new members has more or less stopped. We have lost a few but not many. The Coalition seems to have most negative impact on relatively new members, young members and those active occasionally – all are currently more negative/than positive.

I can understand the motivation behind Gareth’s letter but he should not fool himself – we are likely to suffer a membership or support dip. Surely the task is not to deny it but to work out how we work through it and re-grow.

I suspect Labour are recruiting people who voted Lib Dem but few of our members. In constituencies like mine they will be those who are often people who float between the two parties or former Labour supporters returning.

by AlexKN on July 9, 2010 at 11:50 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall: New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Olly Grender on July 9, 2010 at 11:54 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall: New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Paula Keaveney on July 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm. Reply #

RT @stephentall: New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Jonathan Calder on July 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm. Reply #

RT @stephentall: New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Thomas Oliver on July 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm. Reply #

RT @stephentall: New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Kirsty Bagnall on July 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm. Reply #

RT @stephentall: New post: Lib Dem party membership: “10 members joining for each departure” http://bit.ly/b7VyLu

by Steven Laing on July 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm. Reply #

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