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Tory conference helped Labour recruit 1,000 members, says party treasurer

08 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers his keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the Manchester Central convention complex. Image: Stefan Rousseau

The Labour Party has said it recruited 1,000 new members during the week of the Conservative Party conference.

Party treasurer Mike Payne said membership fees continue to be the primary source of income, and raise approximately £16 million.

He said the membership stands at around 380,000, which is “slightly lower” than the number reported for 2021 although membership income levels were “higher than anticipated”.

Mr Payne said it is “not unusual for membership numbers to fluctuate throughout election cycles”, telling the Labour Party conference in Liverpool: “Due to the turbulence in the Government over the summer and autumn, and given the positive vision for Britain and the policy agenda set out by (Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer), we have seen a surge in new members into the party.”

He added: “During the Tory conference we recruited 1,000 members in a week.”

Labour general secretary David Evans, looking ahead to the next general election, said: “How close do you feel we are to winning? Well, Keir will often remind us we should never be complacent, and we’re not, but there are reasons to be confident.”

He said the party has made progress since 2019, saying: “Difficult decisions, so our finances are strong and we can now invest more in this campaign than ever before.”

Mr Evans warned that Labour will “pay the price” if they give the Conservatives an opportunity, as he noted their opponents have “given up governing” but they “haven’t given up campaigning”.

Sticker

As part of their campaigning efforts, Mr Evans said members will received a “Win 24” sticker.

He said: “Put this in your car or porch. It will signal to others in your area that they are part of a growing number who want us to win in ’24.”

Labour MP Pat McFadden, the party’s national campaigner coordinator, celebrated recent by-election successes and looked ahead to the contests in Mid-Bedfordshire and Tamworth on October 19.

He told delegates: “These are tough by-elections and I don’t make predictions but I know two things: first, there are no no-go areas for Labour; and second, we’re not standing aside for anyone.”

Elsewhere on the conference floor some Labour members voiced concerns about plans by the party’s National Executive Committee to get local party branches “election ready”.

Tommy Edwin Kirkwood, of Blackpool South constituency Labour Party, said the reforms to the party constitution showed a “blatant disregard for equalities”, and urged others to vote against them.

He added: “We need to be supporting the people who are disabled, who are LGBTQ, who are anything else, and we need to make sure that they have a voice in our party.”

But Birgit Miller of Hove and Portslade constituency Labour Party, said the party could be seen as “looking inwards having meetings” if delegates did not support the changes.

She added: “We need to be campaigning, we need to be canvassing, we need to be engaging with members, that is how we win elections and that is what the Labour Party is for – we need to win the next election.”


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Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

A far right wing authoritarian unionist political party’s appalling behaviour drives supporters to a centre right wing authoritarian unionist political party. Should I be happy about this for some reason?

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Well, I’m not sure but there is something sweet about Sunak being an effective recruiting sergeant for the Labour membership. Loser! Oh I do hope he is.

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