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Momentum surges past 35,000 members with ‘more than 1,000 members joining every month’

Exclusive: Jeremy Corbyn-backing organisation claims it has now surpassed Ukip’s activist base and is on course to overtake the Green Party

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Thursday 18 January 2018 21:04 GMT
Momentum is aiming to attract more members than the Tory party before the next election
Momentum is aiming to attract more members than the Tory party before the next election (Alamy)

Membership of Momentum has surged above 35,000 and is growing by more than 1,000 a month, setting the organisation on course to surpass the activist bases of some of the established political parties.

Insiders at the Jeremy Corbyn-backing organisation told The Independent that membership figures had now overtaken Ukip and claim they are on course to overtake the Green Party, who currently boast a membership of 39,000.

Now Momentum has launched a campaign to overtake the membership of the Conservative Party by the next general election scheduled for 2022.

While Momentum is not a political party and all members of the organisation have to be signed up to the Labour Party, the latest figures show the activist base has expanded by 4,000 in the space of three months.

It also comes as the Tories’ membership figures have been thrust into the spotlight in recent months as the party struggles to enthuse younger voters in the wake of the inconclusive general election result.

Laura Parker, a national coordinator at Momentum, told The Independent that over the coming year Momentum will embark on a “huge” membership drive “with the aim of building a movement larger than the Conservative party before the next general election”.

“More than 1,000 people are joining Momentum every month in an effort to transform their communities and elect a socialist Labour government,” she added. “In the last election Labour members made an incredible contribution, knocking on doors and spreading Labour’s message across the country.

“The Tories know that it will be a vibrant, empowered, mass-member party that will win the next election, and that’s why they’re both embarrassed and worried about their dwindling membership.”

According to the latest figures available from the House of Commons Library, membership of Ukip stands at 34,000. But a party source told The Independent that is now much lower, around 25,000, after a period of losing a thousand members a month before the election of Henry Bolton.

While the Conservative Party does not routinely publish its membership figures and has not done so for four years, Grant Shapps, the former party chairman, recently urged the Prime Minister to “come clean” about how few people up are paid-up members.

Most estimates put the figure at around 100,000, but the head of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy said earlier this year that he believed it had dropped to just 70,000. The latest House of Commons Library update from December 2013 placed membership of the party on 149,800.

The figures from Momentum come after the organisation successfully managed to get three of its candidates for Labour’s governing body – the National Executive Committee (NEC) – elected to the three positions available, giving the organisation and its members a greater sway over the internal rules of the Labour Party.

Insiders added that in order to increase their membership they will now build on the digital tools used during the general election and plan to launch a campaign for the council elections scheduled for May this year.

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