Political

Liberal Democrat membership figures

Here are the end of year (31 December*) membership figures for the Liberal Democrats since the party’s creation in 1988 with exact figures since 2001 and rounded-off figures for the earlier years.

Also in this table are the membership totals at the point of various all-member ballots during the party’s history.

YearMembershipChange on year
1988 leadership contest80,104n/a
1988 president contest80,071n/a
198880,000 
198981,000 
1990 president contest82,455 
199077,000 
199191,000 
1992 president contest101,768**n/a
1992101,000 
1993101,000 
1994 president contest101,091n/a
1994101,000 
199594,000 
199699,000 
199787,000 
199889,000 
1999 leadership contest82,827n/a
199983,000*** 
200069,000 
200173,276 
200271,636-1,640
200373,305 (63,373 after lapsing)1,669
2004 president contest72,868n/a
200472,721-584
200572,031-690
2006 leadership contest72,064n/a
200668,743 (65,997)-3,288
2007 leadership contest64,728n/a
200765,400 (62,380)-3,343
2008 president contest60,357n/a
200859,810 (56,294)-5,590
200958,768 (50,245)-1,042
2010 president contest65,861n/a
201065,038 (62,036)6,270
201148,934-16,104
201242,501-6,433
201343,451****950
2014 president contest43,246n/a
201444,6801,229
2015 leadership contest60,500n/a
201561,59816,918
201679,50717,909
2017 leadership contest103,300n/a
201797,40317,896
201895,228-2,175
2019 leadership contest106,075n/a
2019 president contesttbcn/a
2019126,724 31,496
2020 leadership contest117,924 n/a
202098,247-28,477

* Hence before the end of the fourth quarter lapsing of members overdue with their membership subs. For some years post-lapsing figures are also quoted in the table in brackets.

** Around this point the way of counting was changed to include people up to six months in arrears with their membership subs (rather than the previous three months).

*** Around this point the six month period was cut back to three months.

**** At its lowest point in the middle of the year, the party’s membership was 40,530.

With thanks to the House of Commons Library, Stephen Tall and David Loxton for help with the data, along with the election results recorded by Colin Rosenstiel. For information on how to join the Liberal Democrats yourself, see here.

5 responses to “Liberal Democrat membership figures”

  1. Do you have any information on the size of the liberal party membership in 1970, for example? I don’t think we’re always comparing like with like, given the ructions of the SDP etc in the 1980s.

    • Not sure, but it will be quite a small proportion of the party’s membership as in 2020 around 1 in 6 have been members for at least a decade.

      • As President, there is a simple way to find out. Just ask the Head of Membership Services how many members have a seven-digit membership number beginning with 0 or 1 (ex-SDP) or 2 (ex-Lib). Before, I think, the change from Pro7 to Salesforce our membership numbers were all seven-digit, with the last digit used as a check digit so you could get a membership number ending in an X(=10).

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