Fall in Labour membership ‘accelerating since the European elections’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: Jacob King/PA.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: Jacob King/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Labour Party officials have expressed their dismay that the party is 'haemorrhaging members' - and it has 'accelerated' since the European elections.

According to The Times an insider told the newspaper that the reduction in membership is leaving a budget shortfall of £1 million.

They claim that the total number of members has dropped to 480,000 - down from 564,000 since December 2017.

Insiders say that number is even more significant when lapsed members are excluded from the numbers.

It follows another set of terrible headlines over failure to tackle anti-semitism and hold a credible Brexit position.

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A party MP told The Times: "We are haemorrhaging members, equally balanced between stalwarts who have finally given up because of anti-semitism and young idealists who joined because of Jeremy Corbyn and feel betrayed over Brexit.

"There's nothing to suggest that the fall isn't going to go down beyond 450,000.

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"If anything it's accelerating since the European elections."

A member of the party's ruling National Executive Committee said: "We are living beyond our means and the long-term prognosis for the party's finances is bad.

"We are much more reliant on membership income than ever before because high value donations don't exist."

But a spokesman for Labour dismissed the reports.

"There is no shortfall in our membership income budget.

"We are proud that our party is funded by our mass membership, small donations and millions of workers through our affiliated trade unions."

The reports come as a YouGov poll suggested the Liberal Democrats could win a general election if Labour does not adopt a clear anti-Brexit agenda.

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