The Lib Dems Get a Major Grassroots Boost

The Lib Dems have been making some impressive grass roots gains of late. Their surge in membership and council election victories since the 2015 election and, more dramatically, since the Brexit vote is well documented. They have seen a similar surge since Tuesday, when the snap election was called.

The party say that they have attracted 8,000 new members since Tuesday, putting their total membership at 95,000. This is the most members the party has had since 1996. Labour party membership peaked at 554,000 in 2015, after Corbyn’s election, currently stands at roughly 483,000. The Conservatives have between 130,000 and 150,000.

The Lib Dems attracted £1.97 million in donations in the final quarter of last year, which is more than Labour, and say that they have received £500,000 in grassroots donations since the snap election was announced. Labour is said to have attracted £200,000 in donations since the snap election was announced.

Tim Farron, Lib Dem leader, has said that activists are ‘flocking’ to the party already. Party sources suggest that target seats have already seen an increase in local activists.

It is not clear if party members equal general election votes, or if new activists will maintain their enthusiasm during the campaign. Labour has historically had far more party members than the Conservatives when the Conservatives have won their biggest election victories.

It is clear, though, that the increased financial clout of the party is a significant bonus for Farron’s party. In past elections, the Lib Dems have struggled to compete with the financial reserves of the Conservatives and Labour.

The Lib Dems are trying to bounce back from a disastrous 2015 election showing, in which all bar 8 of their MPs lost their seats. Positioning themselves as the anti-Brexit party, they seem to be attracting significant grassroots attention, but are still polling in the low teens.