Lib Dems gain 1,000 members in just one hour after snap election is announced

The party believes it can regain lost seats at the election

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 18 April 2017 16:04 BST
Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael claims 500 people signed up to party in the 20 minutes after election announcement

The Liberal Democrats have seen a surge of new members in the minutes following the announcement of a snap general election, the party has said.

The party's internal membership figures show it has gained around 1,000 new members in just one hour after Theresa May announced that there would be a general election on 8 June.

The party is hoping to make significant gains at the election, following a disastrous result in 2015 where it was reduced to just eight MPs after going into coalition with the Conservatives.

The party has since since its fortunes rise somewhat in the polls following a renewed focus on supporting membership of the EU.

Despite the surge the Liberal Democrats membership is still significantly smaller than Labour's. The party has just under 90,000 members while Labour had 528,000 at last count at the start of the year.

The Conservatives have not released up to date membership figures since 2013; they are estimated to have around 100,000 members.

President of the Liberal Democrats, Sal Brinton, said: “This is a time when liberals must stand together, and people across the country are doing just that.

“The surge in our membership proves that the Liberal Democrats are seen as the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government.

“While Theresa May is seeking to divide the country, the Liberal Democrats are the only party fighting to keep Britain Open, Tolerant and United.”

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have said they will support a Commons vote tomorrow that would trigger the general election.

Under the Fixed Term Parliament's Act 2011, passed by the Coalition, the next election is scheduled for 2020 but can be called earlier if two thirds of MPs vote in favour.

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