Lib Dem membership increase confirmed: “Across the country, 75% of our local parties grew in 2013”

We reported here three weeks ago that the Lib Dems finished 2013 with a more members than at the start of the year – “the first governing party in recent history to have increased membership while in power,” as the party put it.

At the time, final figures weren’t known as local parties had still to report their numbers to party HQ – so it’s worth noting this snippet from Lib Dem chief executive Tim Gordon in his latest weekly email:

Congratulations to those local parties that have increased their membership. Parties have been notified this week of the incentives to be paid.

Across the country, 75% of our local parties grew and in quarter four our membership grew by 3000.

Thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to make this happen.

Final official figures for the calendar year ending 31 December 2013 will be published in the party’s annual accounts later this year. Unofficially, the party reckoned there was a net increase of around 1,000 in 2013. That’s not a huge increase, but it is nonetheless growth – thanks to some smart incentives by which local parties retain more of the membership fees for going out and doing the actual work of recruiting new members. And, after three years during which the party’s lost a third of its membership, it’s good to see the trend reversed.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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10 Comments

  • This is encouraging. Is the increase spread evenly across the country or is it from one or more specific geographic areas?

  • Liberal Neil 19th Jan '14 - 4:15pm

    Nice to have a bit of good news 🙂

    Theresa – it is quite widespread. I believe the fastest growing local party is a Labour facing seat in the East Midlands.

  • As someone who joined in 2013, keen to know if there are other new members on LDV and what made them join ….

  • @Mark – Hi Mark I joined 2010 post coalition does that count?

  • I’m joining too.

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Jan '14 - 11:31pm

    Hi Mark, a good conversation starter. I joined in 2012 after looking for a party to join and liking Nick Clegg’s centrist message. I also liked The Alliance advert from ’87 about the problem with extremism. After all this, I still nearly joined the Conservatives because I used to think taxes were far too high, but I was put off by their traditionalism and euroscepticism. Funnily enough, after all the benefit cuts and the Crosbyisation of the party I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet :).

    Why did you join?

  • Eddie,

    Apologies for belated response. Sounds like similar reasons to you. I had always been sympathetic to the LDs on most policy issues but I am afraid to say that pre-2010 I thought voting for them a bit of a wasted protest vote (partly, in my defence, due to the constituencies in which I then lived).

    Post 2010 I continue to agree with them on most policies, I like the leadership, I like the fact they have demonstrated they are a serious party of government, and I like the fact they aren’t bankrolled by either unions or the City.

    I strongly support what the Government as a whole is doing on the economy and (perhaps unlike you) welfare, but on Europe, migration and the environment think the LDs are right and the Conservatives dangerously wrong. I am also hugely put off the Conservatives by their existing membership! And I recently moved to a constituency with a sitting LD MP.

    So the combination of all that basically led me to think “don’t just sit on the sidelines, join”!

    What about you, Dean and Sue?

  • Mark/Eddie
    Not dissimilar to Mark really except I’ve been voting for the LD’s in their various guises for 30+ yrs.Like Mark I also (now) live in an LD constituency and as I’d like it to remain that way it didn’t seem reasonable to let others do all the work!
    I firmly believe we have a better govt because of LD input.I also believe the Party has weathered various problems and a hostile media with great discipline.(Ironic that I’m writing that tonight!)Happy to pick and mix across the spectrum on policy but prefer to avoid the Clegg haters and those whose negativity is all consuming.

  • Stephen T good slot on news at ten!

  • Peter Watson 1st Apr '14 - 7:43am

    @Stephen Tall
    I realise this is an old thread, but how much of the rise in membership was due to members who allowed their membership to expire being automatically given a new free membership?
    e.g. https://www.libdemvoice.org/a-longer-read-for-the-weekend-the-importance-of-local-parties-and-incumbency-to-the-lib-dems-electoral-prospects-38860.html#comment-286328

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