13 Sep 2015

Labour claim membership surge after Corbyn election

Labour says more than 15,000 people have joined the party in the 24 hours since Jeremy Corbyn was elected its leader.

The left-wing MP stormed to victory in Labour’s leadership election on Saturday, beating rivals Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham to take 59.5 per cent of the vote.

Labour’s general secretary Iain McNicol said that since Mr. Corbyn was elected, membership of the party was “now over 325,000 and rising”.

During the leadership campaign, Corbyn often drew huge crowds at his rallys with his anti-austerity message and unconventional style of politics.

Yesterday Mr McNicol said that he wanted to see new Labour supporters “out on the doorsteps, alongside the members who’ve campaigned for years, or even decades”.

“A warm welcome to the 15,500 who have joined in the last 24 hours,” he wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile Labour’s new deputy leader Tom Watson said that he hoped many of the ‘registered supporters’ who paid £3 to vote in the leadership campaign would now upgrade to full membership.

“I hope they can come with us on the journey to the election in 2020,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

“Let’s get these new members involved in campaigning, helping relay our roots in communities, being involved in a digital revolution in the party that allows members to feel that they’re more included in the decisions we make.

“We want them to be part of that and I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with that,” he said – ruling out any move to convert them automatically on grounds of practicality and cost.

Labour’s membership also rose significantly in 2010 when Ed Miliband became leader, but slipped back before reforms to the party’s structures last year.