The Liberal Democrat membership surge is about to take the party to a landmark 100,000 members – thanks to a staggering 12,500 joining since Theresa May announced the snap General Election last Tuesday.
Reaching six figures makes the party bigger than it has been since the mid-1990s and puts it on course to reach its highest membership ever within days. The biggest the party has been since its formation is 101,768 in 1994.
It means that more than 50,000 members have joined since last year’s European referendum and more than 67,500 since the 2015 General Election.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron pledged to build the party to 100,000 members by the end of the parliament as a key pledge during his 2015 leadership campaign - but at that point everyone expected the end of the parliament to be 2020.
Tim Farron said:
“Thousands of people are joining the Liberal Democrats every day because they want to change Britain’s future.
“People want a strong opposition to Theresa May’s Hard Brexit agenda and the Liberal Democrats are the only party challenging them up and down the country. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has completely failed, offering no opposition whatsoever and giving Theresa May a blank cheque to pursue a Hard Brexit.
“This election is your chance to change the direction of our country. If you want to stop a disastrous Hard Brexit, if you want to keep Britain in the Single Market, if you want a strong opposition to fight for an open, tolerant and united Britain, this is your chance.”
The landmark figure is just the latest sign of the party’s gathering momentum:
- The latest poll in Sunday’s Observer gave the party a four point increase. The party is consistently polling between 11-14%, close to double its average for most of 2015 and 2016.
- We are on a winning streak. Not only did we win the Richmond Park by-election in stunning style in December 2016, we have had an astonishing run of council by-election gains – more than 30 since last May – making it the best year for by-election gains in the party’s history. We are winning from the Tories, Labour and UKIP, and in areas that voted both Leave and Remain. We are also the only party to have increased its share of the vote in every recent parliamentary by-election.
- We have over-taken Labour in fundraising. In the last quarter of 2016, the Liberal Democrats raised nearly £2m – more money than the Labour Party for the first time ever.