Conservative Party members overwhelmingly old and male, YouGov study reveals

Survey of party members by YouGov finds men account for nearly three-quarters of membership

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Friday 08 September 2017 16:42 BST
Theresa May during a general election campaign rally in Birmingham
Theresa May during a general election campaign rally in Birmingham (Getty)

Conservative Party members are overwhelmingly old and male, according to new research analysing the characteristics of the Tory faithful.

The survey by Queen Mary University and YouGov of 1,000 Conservative members found that men account for nearly three-quarters of the membership – compared with around 50 per cent of those who voted for the party at the general election in June.

It also reveals that just six per cent of members are aged between 18 and 25 while over-65s account for 44 per cent of the total membership, highlighting the uphill struggle for the Party in attracting younger voters to its ranks.

In the make-up of other parties, the research claims, over-65s typically account for less than 30 per cent of membership figures and just 23 per cent of those who actually voted for the Conservatives at the snap election.

In recent weeks, the party has attempted to address this issue by launching Activate – the Conservative attempt to emulate the success of Labour’s grassroots Momentum group that has mobilised thousands of young people since Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the party’s leadership contest.

In a further move, Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, told Conservative MPs earlier this week to submit ideas to address the financial plight of young people ahead of his autumn Budget.

But the survey, which appeared in the Huffington Post, added that when respondents were asked whether young people “did not respect traditional British values” nearly eight in 10 agreed with the statement.

In regards to Brexit, the research added that just 13 per cent of members surveyed believed in considering the option of a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU when the terms of the Brexit deal are known.

Last month a separate study found that 49 per cent of Labour members thought there should “definitely” be a vote on the final Brexit deal while just 8 per cent opposed the idea outright.

According to recent data published by the House of Commons Library, Labour has over half a million members – 552,000 – while the Conservatives had 149,800 in December 2013 – the last available estimate published by CCHQ.

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