Tory membership down by a third to 177,000 since Cameron became leader
Thursday update from Jonathan Isaby:
After Sayeeda Warsi was challenged by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics yesterday about the membership figure, the party confirmed to the BBC this morning that membership does indeed officially now stand at 177,000 members, each paying the £25 minimum subscription. However, the party is quick to point out that there are additionally more than 500,000 regsistered "friends" of the party, a number of whom were technically members in the past but whose subscription of less than £25 no longer entitled them to be a voting member.
Below is the clip from today's Daily Politics in which I discuss these issues with Andrew Neil.
By Tim Montgomerie
During Blair's period as opposition leader Labour's membership rocketed.
Why has this happened?
- Ageing of the party?
- A general decline in people wanting to join any kind of membership organisations?
- The expenses crisis?
- Ideological unhappiness with the Cameron project?
- Erosion of rights of members to choose candidates?
- The lack of practical benefits of being a member?
All of these factors are contributory to differing extents but the steep nature of the decline in membership numbers raises bigger questions about the nature of a political organisation at the start of the 21st century.
ConservativeHome will be doing a lot of work in coming months to consider whether membership can be revived or whether it's time to think of a very different model for political activism.