Labour hits a quarter million members

Labour Party Conference 2014

The Labour party, which is in the middle of a tight leadership contest, has gained its 250,000th member.

Labour hits a quarter million members

The party has been growing since the election, as have the Liberal Democrats who today elected their new leader Tim Farron, 57% - 43% (according to the BBC).

The Labour party made the announcement via Facebook, saying that:

"With a quarter of a million people proud to call themselves Labour Party members, now’s a great time to join the team:"

With an image saying:

"We just welcomed our 250,000th member! Want to join the UK's biggest political party?"

The 250,000 figure means that a quarter of a million people could potentially vote in the Labour leadership election, which is being fought between Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn. However, it is likely that turnout will not be that high.

Labour once had over a million members, but its recent peak was at around 405,000 in 1997 when Tony Blair was elected leader, according to the Guardian.

The rise in Labour party members since the election is an interesting one, which will be party down to the fact that there is a leadership contest and that people will want to shape the future of the party they support, but had not joined before.

It is likely that it is also down to people wanting to show where they stand - against the government - perhaps in a similar way so many people joined the SNP after the ‘Yes’ campaign lost the referendum. In effect members who joined up after that loss were saying, ‘we know we lost, but we back an independent Scotland and the SNP'.

The Labour party's membership was a low 176,000 in 2007, showing that the party has made progress in recent years.

Furthermore, in the upcoming Labour leadership election, members will have much more a say than in previous ones as there is no longer the electoral college system where elected Labour MPs, MSPs and MEPs had a third of the vote, as did Trade Union members, as did regular members.

This time those 250,000 members have an equal voice.

A voice that will decide the fate of their party.


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