Lib Dem membership increase confirmed: “Across the country, 75% of our local parties grew in 2013?

by Stephen Tall on January 18, 2014

We reported here three weeks ago that the Lib Dems finished 2013 with a more members than at the start of the year – “the first governing party in recent history to have increased membership while in power,” as the party put it.

At the time, final figures weren’t known as local parties had still to report their numbers to party HQ – so it’s worth noting this snippet from Lib Dem chief executive Tim Gordon in his latest weekly email:

Congratulations to those local parties that have increased their membership. Parties have been notified this week of the incentives to be paid.

Across the country, 75% of our local parties grew and in quarter four our membership grew by 3000.

Thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to make this happen.

Final official figures for the calendar year ending 31 December 2013 will be published in the party’s annual accounts later this year. Unofficially, the party reckoned there was a net increase of around 1,000 in 2013. That’s not a huge increase, but it is nonetheless growth – thanks to some smart incentives by which local parties retain more of the membership fees for going out and doing the actual work of recruiting new members. And, after three years during which the party’s lost a third of its membership, it’s good to see the trend reversed.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.