Labour sees membership surge amid leadership race

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party

London,  The UK’s main opposition Labour Party has experienced a surge in membership since the December 2019 general election and also amid the ongoing leadership race to replace incumbent chief Jeremy Corbyn, it was reported on Saturday.

Constituency Labour parties (CLPs) have reported increases in local membership amid the ongoing leadership race, in which members will vote from February 21, the BBC report said.

In Hammersmith, west London, the CLP has seen a 32 per cent increase with 413 members joining in a single month, while in Bury North numbers have gone up by 26 per cent with 202 people signing up.

Elsewhere, Richmond, south-west London, now boasts 350 new members, up 30 per cent, and Hove, East Sussex, has 477 more, up 21 per cent, while Exeter has seen a 25 per cent increase with 300 additional members.

It was however, not clear whether these members have only joined to get a vote – but the surge will boost Labour’s finances.

The five candidates in the leadership race are Indian-origin MP Lisa Nandy, Birmingham MP Jess Phillips; Shadow First Secretary of State Emily Thornberry; Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Keir Starmer; and Shadow Business Secretary MP Rebecca Long-Bailey.

The five contenders need the support of 5 per cent of local parties or at least three affiliates by February 14 to make the final ballot.

Members of the public who join the party or become affiliated supporters before January 20 will be eligible to vote in the contest, said the BBC.

Corbyn signalled his intention to stand down after Labour lost its fourth general election in a row and his second as Labour leader following the December 12, 2019 polls.