Labour NEC vote reveals drop in party membership since Keir Starmer’s election

LABOUR has lost over 50,000 members since Keir Starmer became leader, according to the party’s own election records.

UK Labour held its National Executive Committee (NEC) elections this week, which was won by the party’s left-wing faction.

In the NEC election, 495,961 members of the party were listed as eligible to vote.

When Starmer was elected to the leadership position after Jeremy Corbyn stood down, there were 552,835 registered Labour party members.

Those figures mean the party has lost 56,874 members since April.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer’s row with Jeremy Corbyn driven as much by emotion than cool strategy

In that time Starmer has had to weather some controversies as leader.

In June, he removed Rebecca Long-Bailey from his front bench for “liking” and sharing an article in the Independent which some deemed to have contained antisemitic tropes.

This was read by many on the party’s left as opportunism on Starmer’s part, as he aimed to remove Corbyn supporters from key roles.

Later, Labour came under intense fire after Starmer ordered his MPs to abstain on the “spy cops” bill, which would allow undercover officers to commit serious crimes with impunity, even on home soil.

Seven of Starmer’s frontbenchers resigned over the party’s position on the bill, which also saw dozens of Labour MPs defy the whip.

In late October Starmer suspended former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from the party over comments he made about a Equalities and Human Rights Commission report on antisemitism in the party.

READ MORE: John McDonnell says suspending Jeremy Corbyn from Labour ‘profoundly wrong’

Corbyn said: “The scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”

In reply, Starmer said those who believed the issue of antisemitism in the party had been “exaggerated” or was a “factional attack” were also “part of the problem and … should be nowhere near the Labour Party”.

Corbyn’s suspension caused outrage among the party’s left and saw reports of Labour having to send extra staff over to work on the number of emails being sent to their membership team.

The assumption in the media was that these emails were about cancelling membership.

It is unclear whether the UK Labour party lost all 55,000 members as a result of these events, or if the decline has been a steady one since Starmer became leader.

The party also had 13,626 “registered supporters” and 217,690 “affiluated supporters” who were eligible to vote in the leadership elections. 

However, its website states that only “eligible members” could vote in the NEC elections.

The left-wingers’ victory in those elections will do little to bridge the growing divide in the party, as it has left a Starmer-supporting majority in the NEC.

This is because of a voting system change to proportional representation, which meant right-wingers were able to win seats where it had previously been dominated by the left, and the fact that not all of the NEC is elected.

Even without the 55,000 lost members, Labour is still the UK’s largest political party by some margin.

Its 495,000 members vastly outnumber the Tories 180,000, or the LibDems 120,000.

The SNP, which does not operate UK-wide, had around 125,000 members as of 2018.

The Labour party said it does not comment on membership numbers.



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