Liberal Democrats gain 15,000 new members after Brexit

Party leader Tim Farron has pledged to camping for Britain to re-join the EU 

Alexandra Sims
Wednesday 06 July 2016 20:13
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Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron delivers his keynote speech to delgates during the Liberal Democrats spring conference at York Barbican
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron delivers his keynote speech to delgates during the Liberal Democrats spring conference at York Barbican

Fifteen thousand people have joined the Liberal Democrats following the Brexit vote, the party has said.

The figure marks a 10 year high for the party as leader Tim Farron pledges to restore the UK’s membership of the EU, attracting new support from disillusioned pro-EU voters after the referendum in June.

The announcement comes after the party reported that people were joining the Lib Dems at a rate of one a minute at the end of June.

The party also claimed that some of its new members voted Leave during the referendum but were appalled “by the economic and political chaos that has followed, as well as the broken promises of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage.”

Following the vote the Lib Dems, which backed the Remain campaign, launched the hashtag #Wearethe48 – referring to the 48 per cent of people who voted to stay in the EU.

In recent days, Mr Farron has cemented the party’s pro-EU stance saying the Lib Dems will demand EU nationals residing in the UK are given assurances they will have the right to stay in the country indefinitely and call on the Government to combat the impact of a Brexit Recession.

As Labour remains in state of chaos over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and the Conservatives are divided between Brexit and Remain supporters, Mr Farron has said that, while the outcome of the referendum should be respected, voters should be offered the choice of supporting a party dedicated to re-joining the EU.

Speaking after the Brexit vote Mr Farron said: "The British people deserve the chance not to be stuck with the appalling consequences of a Leave campaign that stoked that anger with the lies of Farage, Johnson and Gove.

"The Liberal Democrats will fight the next election on a clear promise to restore British prosperity and role in the world, with the UK in the European Union, not out.

"If you agree with us, join us to make this happen."

The Lib Dems saw their vote share collapse at the last general election, as supporters deserted the party following its decision to go into coalition with the Conservatives, with the party’s membership dropping from around 65,000 in 2010 to around 42,000 in 2014.

The party was left with just eight MPs but saw slight gains in English council elections earlier this year.

The Lib Dems have now been branded the “only true Remain party” by former independent London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita, who was among the party’s thousands of new members.

Responding to the surge in membership Party President Sal Brinton told Lib Dem Voice: “Only the Liberal Democrats are left to make the positive case for Britain remaining in the heart of Europe. We respect the result of the referendum but the Leave campaign failed to present any kind of plan for post-Brexit Britain.

“With Conservative leadership contenders fighting over who will drag Britain out of Europe first, and Labour leadership contenders simply fighting among themselves, only the Liberal Democrats are focusing on the vital issues facing the country at this moment of national crisis.”

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