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CCHQ goes on a push to increase party membership to help drive future electoral success

By Jonathan Isaby

Andrew Feldman Last October ConservativeHome revealed - and CCHQ confirmed - that party membership had fallen to 177,000, down from around 258,000 at the time of David Cameron's election as party leader in 2005.

This could be explained through a variety of factors: the fact that over time all three main parties have seen fewer people wanting to sign on the dotted line to become a member; an ageing membership not being rejuvenated with enough new younger members; a lack of benefits and rights for members; some who have been unhappy with the party's political or ideological direction of travel simply not renewing their membership; some who had been members in more than one place having previously been double-counted; and those not paying a £25 fee no longer being counted as full members.

CCHQ were quick to remind us last year that there were more than 500,000 registered "friends" and supporters of the party - a lot of whom also do the all-important legwork of delivering newsletters and supporting candidates on the campaign trail.

Some wondered whether the party was considering ditching the membership model in the long term. But we can reveal today that those at the highest echelons of the party are now urgently seeking to reverse that declining trend in membership. 

Party co-chairman Lord Feldman (pictured above) has this week written to all Conservative MPs and Conservative associations, setting them ambitious membership targets:

"David Cameron has made developing our Membership base a priority for the Party, and in order to deliver on this priority, we are setting targets for every Association in the country.

  • For those with Conservative MPs, the target for Membership is 5% of the local Conservative vote at the 2010 General Election.
  • For those without Conservative MPs, the target is 3% of the local Conservative vote at the 2010 General Election."

Feldman says that increasing the membership now will be "the bedrock of our campaigning success in future elections" and that all associations will shortly have access to a new "membership toolkit" both online and in booklet form to assist them in this drive over the coming months.

He also highlights that the party is improving communication with members through a new Members First newsletter to be sent via email every two months and is giving them "a stronger voice" on policy development through the re-launched Conservative Policy Forum

> Download PDF of full Andrew Feldman letter to MPs


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