After Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour leader on 24th September it was suggested on social media that 15,000 people had joined the Labour Party that day. The LibDems by contrast claimed that 300 members of the Labour Party had left to join them.
Membership of political parties- voluntary organisations after all- fluctuates. People move, lose touch, sadly die and so on.
Time allowing I will post a bit more about who Labour members are and who Labour aims to appeal based in part of Gareth Stedman Jones 1982 essay, Why is the Labour Party in a Mess?
Below are some figures (source House of Commons Library) on Labour membership.
We can see that when Harold Wilson was elected PM in 1964 membership was 830,000. However at that time CLPs had to affiliate at least a 1,000 members whatever the actual number.
When Blair was elected in 1997 the figure (now based on actual numbers) was 405,000. By the time Gordon Brown lost in 2010 it was 193,000.
The Labour Party’s own assessment today is that it has over 500,000 members, affiliates and supporters noting that under Ed Miliband’s leadership the membership structure was reconfigured again.
1980 348,000 (change in counting to actuals)