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New accounts reveal Labour Party lost 91,000 members last year

17 Aug 2022 2 minute read
Labour leader Keir Starmer. Photo Kirsty O’Connor PA Images
The accounts, published by the Electoral Commission, said Labour’s membership fell from 523,332 at the end of 2020 to 432,213 in a year.

The figures were described by Momentum as “alarming”, as the left-wing pressure group pointed the finger of blame at Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership.

Income from membership fees dropped from £19.3 million to £16.2 million in 2021, though last year’s fees were comparable with 2017 and 2018 levels – when membership boomed during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The party treasurer’s report described 2021 as a “difficult and demanding year”, with redundancy pay-offs to cut costs in the long term contributing to the loss.

“Party finances do remain challenging with pressure on income coinciding with increasing costs,” the report said.


The size of Labour’s deficit went up from £1 million to £5.2 million.

The report continued: “The one-off cost of the voluntary severance scheme contributed to the deficit result which required the allocation of cash reserves to fund. For the avoidance of doubt, the Party remains debt free.”

But the report also said there had been a return to more normal operations after Covid, and a Labour spokesman said the party was “on track to returning to a firm financial footing”.

In 2021, the party raised nearly £10 million in donations, including from members, supporters, major donors and unions, up from £5.7 million a year earlier.

Commercial income increased by £2.5 million in 2021.

Labour’s income was also significantly higher than the Conservative Party’s last year, raising nearly £46 million compared with the Tories’ £32 million.

A Labour spokesman said: “Thanks to Keir Starmer’s firm leadership and clear commitment to taking Labour back into power, the party is on track to returning to a firm financial footing – with commercial income and donations rising significantly.”


But Momentum blamed Sir Keir’s failure to stand by the 10 policy pledges made during the 2019 leadership campaign and his stance towards trade unions for the exodus of members.

The group tweeted: “These figures are alarming.

“Keir Starmer’s pledge-breaking & factional approach have prompted an exodus of members and a financial crisis for the Party.

“Yet the Leadership has welcomed these departures while alienating Labour’s affiliated trade unions.”

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I Humphrys
I Humphrys
1 year ago

I wonder why, Watson?

Richard 1
Richard 1
1 year ago

It’s because the right wing are smart enough to work together even though they hate each other, while the parties of the left and centre are too stupid to realise that a one term electoral pact leading to a cross party coalition committed to putting proportional representation in place would put the tories into permanent opposition.

Doctor Trousers
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard 1

Agreed, I’ve been saying much the same for ages. We need a single issue electoral pact to get the tories out, introduce electoral reform, then call another general election.
I’m not sure if I agree so much with your use of parties plural. I think the labour party themselves are by far the biggest obstacle to this. If they changed their ruinous policy of refusing to work with the SNP, everything else would fall into place easily enough.

Doctor Trousers
1 year ago

It won’t change a thing. Their strategy is to try and win over tory voters, and I imagine they were already well aware that appealing to tory voters and appealing to labour members are more or less opposites.
What they should have been doing for the last 12 years in opposition is finding a consensus on a set of core principles, and then making the case for those core principles to the public, including the necessity of working with the SNP to get the tories out.

1 year ago

It’s good that SOME of those members were lost – Jeremy Corbyn was weaker than required on anti-semitism and some parts of foreign policy and therefore the party attracted some bad eggs for that reason. But an awful lot of good people have been lost (including good people who had joined because of Jeremy Corbyn’s and others) because those who have been part of running the Labour party for decades are once again telling the lie that the only route to power is to be Tories without so much baggage. Lisa Nandy recently quoted one previous Labour MP who had… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by George
1 year ago
Reply to  George

Having Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader was a mistake and huge gift to the ERG and right wing Tories, which we are now paying the price for now. Why would a largely pro-European party elect a lexiteer as their leader in the run up to the EU referendum? 

The fact that he refused to condemn Russia for the Salisbury poisonings, and recently called on the government to stop supporting Ukraine proves that he was never fit for office.

1 year ago

The more or less constant internal battles point to the fairly obvious solution… “Welsh” Labour needs to become a completely autonomous party, raising its own finance and supporting London Labour only when that support brings tangible benefits to Wales. If it remains a gofer for London they’ll suffer the same fate as “Scottish” Labour sooner than they think. Labour in Wales needs to become the Labour Party of Wales PDQ. They could start by condeming Nandy’s stated wish to use “Spanish methods” against SNP support in Scotland. You will recall those methods…. They included civil guard thugs dragging Catalan women… Read more »

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