Labour membership falls over Brexit and antisemitism complaints

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

BREXIT woes and antisemitism allegations have cost the Labour party nearly 125 members a day last year, it has been revealed.

The party had 518,659 members in December 2018, down from a peak of 564,443 the previous year, figures from the party’s latest accounts show. Despite a decline in membership, Labour remained by far the largest UK political party.

New figures also revealed that Labour raised the most income and spent the most last year.

The Electoral Commission published details from 11 parties in Great Britain on Thursday (8), and it showed Labour’s income amounting to £45.6m and expenditure of £46.3m.

The Conservatives came in second with income of £34.2m and expenditure of £36.3m.

A Labour spokesman said: “Labour is proud to be one of the largest political parties in Europe, with an active and diverse membership who are working to transform our society for the many not the few.

“Our finances are in good health and we remain on an election footing, ready to fight the election whenever it may be called.”

Regarding the fall in numbers, the party said it was “in line with previous experience” outside a general election or leadership campaign year.

Internal critics have for long blamed Labour’s dropping membership numbers to its failure to address antisemitism within the party.

Last year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn issued a “sincere apology” for failing to address antisemitism problem.

Taking to Twitter, Corbyn wrote: “I recognise that antisemitism has surfaced within the Labour party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples.

“This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.”

The party’s ambiguous stance on Brexit has also been cited as a reason for dwindling membership numbers.