Has Liberal Democrat party membership overtaken the Conservatives?

It used to be the case that Liberal Democrats seeking to win all-member elections in the party would set big, ambitious membership goals… and then the party would come nowhere near meeting them. But now there’s a different pattern emerging: big, ambitious goals… which then are met surprisingly quickly.

So it was with Tim Farron’s 100,000 membership target. Now it may also be true with Vince Cable’s ambition, set out in his leadership campaign, that the Liberal Democrats should overtake the Conservative Party’s membership.

The Liberal Democrats have never done this before, even when the party has been on a high and the Conservatives on a low such as in the late 1990s. Indeed, the two party’s figures have never got particularly close.

Until now, that is. For the latest Lib Dem membership total is 103,300 and a leading Conservative figure has just pegged his party’s membership at around 100,000 (hat-tip: The Torch).

There is of course one way to ensure that the Lib Dem membership total really is higher than the Conservative total: encourage someone else to join the party today.

UPDATE: This news has been a trigger for an email from Vince Cable to party members encouraging them to recruit more people or donate to help pay for online recruitment ads. As I wrote on Facebook:

Fab email from Lib Dem HQ this afternoon: taking a recent story and turning it into a timely email which encourages members to get involved is the sort of thing that used to be frustratingly rare. Much less so these days. (And double thanks to the staff who I guess have been working extra hours on a weekend to make it happen.)

UPDATE 2: Further reports confirm that Liberal Democrat membership is now higher than that of the Conservative Party.

4 responses to “Has Liberal Democrat party membership overtaken the Conservatives?”

  1. I think the reality might be that we are about to lose what I would guess is about 5% of our membership. The reason is that a significant proportion of the people due to renew their membership this quarter appear not to be renewing.

  2. 5% really would be quite good – one in twenty, nearly all non-activists. A dip after the disappointing general election performance, the messy fall of Tim and the absence of a leadership election (quoted by the Tory guy as one reason why their membership has fallen – that there was no Tory leadership election) wouldn’t be surprising. 5% could be replaced and more. But let’s see. Or let’s act – and that particularly means moving selectively into new wards.

  3. Before Tim I wrote to the preceding 4 leaders suggesting the reintroduction of university seats for expats. Like many others I am disenfranchised in the UK. I still believe in the Liberal tradition & will support the LibDems where I can. I am particularly concerned about Brexit…if it happens I may be forced to give up my nationality.

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