A report tonight by the former political journalist of the year, David Henke, says there’s been a huge reduction in Tory members since GE2017 and that the total is down to 100k. In an interview John Strafford, chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy is quoted as saying “the real membership of the party has plummeted to around 100,000” a figure that is well below the 149,500 used by the party in 2013.
“The party is facing oblivion. If you take the fact only 10 per cent of the membership is likely to be very active they will not have enough people on the ground to fight an election – they won’t even have enough people to man polling stations on the day. They are keeping council seats because often the families of the councillors are campaigning with party members to get them re-elected. They simply don’t have the local resources to do this in a general election.”
Stafford says that the membership in in 300 of the Parliamentary constituency parties – nearly half the MPs in Parliament – membership has dropped to 100 people or fewer.
This compares sharply with the 500k+ members that LAB has and the 100k+ that the LDs have now achieved following the big decline in the coalition years,
A particular problem was the rushed nature of the last election which was called, as TMay has admitted, without any preparation. This meant that in seats where candidates hadn’t been selected contenders, in many case, were imposed on local parties. What’s the point of being a member if you are prevented from having a say in candidate selection.
This will all be discussed at a fringe meeting in Manchester on Monday.