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.