Claims from Jeremy Corbyn’s internal Labour critics that “tens of thousands” of members had quit the party since the General Election have been proven wrong after figures revealed that less than 14,000 people had left since May.
Meanwhile membership of the party has nearly doubled since the election – from 201,293 in May to 388,407 – showing membership is close to its previous peak level of 405,000 in 1997.
Lord Mandelson led warnings last month that 30,000 long-term members had stopped their membership and a split was opening up between “two parties” within Labour as he urged the leadership to “reach out” to people to the right of the party.
He was joined by a string of moderate Labour MPs warning that “tens of thousands” had left the party since Mr Corbyn won the leadership election in September.
The new figures – given to the Guardian – show that just 13,860 people have left since the election.
However, this figure may not include all those who have left the party since Mr Corbyn took over as it does not include those members who have quietly ceased paying their subscription fees because there is a six month period of grace before they are deemed to have officially left the party.
In December Lord Mandelson told Mr Corbyn at a meeting of Labour peers that he and his allies must do more to attract members who were not from the left.
"30,000 long term members have left the Labour party, real members, tens of thousands,” the former Cabinet minister said. “There are now two Labour parties.
"What are you going to do about it? How are you going to reach out?"
Mr Corbyn replied saying the party under his leadership was more “vibrant” than ever and insisted he was encouraging “open debate” among new members.Reuse content