With a party leadership contest in the offing, there’s an extra reason for others to join the 2,350 and rising who have joined the party since 10pm on Thursday. It’s that new members will also get to vote in the leadership contest:
The electorate for the purpose of the election shall be those members with current membership of the Liberal Democrats on the closing date for nominations, including those members whose subscriptions were due not more than three months before the closing date. [Leadership Election Regulations]
That’s a great reason for local parties to push membership just now – and, frankly, it’s also a good way to relieve some of the much angst over the election results given how many people are responding really positively by joining.
But there is a further thing the Federal Executive (FE) should decide. It could let announced candidates have a copy of the lists of those members lapsed for more than three months well ahead of the close of nominations.
That way the leadership teams for each candidate will have a list of names of people with a direct incentive to recruit any supporters amongst those back to the party.
This won’t be entryism – they’ll all be ex-members – but it will provide an extra important opportunity to rebuild.
Having leadership campaigns lead the way on re-recruiting members played a big party in the Canadian Conservatives revival from their electoral nadir. Liberal Democrats should do it too.