Jeremy Corbyn has smashed a record set by former Labour leader Tony Blair, leaving the Labour coup in tatters.
A jaw dropping 100,000 members have joined since Brexit and the subsequent coordinated Labour coup against Corbyn. After already being elected on a bigger democratic mandate than Blair or any British political leader, Corbyn has now skyrocketed membership of the party above all previous records. This is important, because it’s the members who get people out to vote come election day.
After Blair’s peak in 1997, Labour membership plummeted during the Iraq war, which Corbyn vehemently opposed.
A half-million strong party membership, combined with hundreds of thousands of affiliated and registered supporters, will make the expected upcoming leadership election much more representative of the country as a whole. Back when Ed Miliband changed the rules give Labour members and £3 supporters an equal vote in leadership elections, he said:
If we can be a party of 400,000 people genuinely engaged, this will make us more reflective of the country we seek to govern. In turn that means Labour is less likely to lose touch in government, and instead represent the beating heart of Britain.
Now the party membership is way above Miliband’s target, and that’s only the full members.
Perhaps it is now plausible for membership of the Labour party to soar past its highest ever, which was over a million members in the 1950s. A membership of 500,000, plus affiliated and registered supporters, will make Labour’s leadership contest much more representative of the electorate than the Conservatives’, who have only 150,000 members.
While progressives see this as evidence of Corbyn’s widespread support, the establishment camp maintain that some are joining to vote him out.
New members joining Labour are not asked whether they support the present leader, but The Independent reports:
Of the new members, 20,000 have been checked and over half are thought to have joined to support Mr Corbyn.
While some will be joining to vote against him, it is not just the rallies up and down the country and the 260,000-strong petition that suggests many share Corbyn’s views. Momentum, the grassroots campaign group for Corbyn, has reported its membership has doubled to over 12,000 since the coup began, coupled with record-breaking daily donations of £11,000. The increase in support for Momentum is particularly significant – these are not just members, but activists dedicated to spreading Corbyn’s policies and messages.
And it’s not just Corbyn’s grassroots base that looks very strong. Rejecting the no-confidence vote, over 240 Labour councillors have signed a letter maintaining their support for Corbyn. In a further indication of his robust local support, a Newsnight survey of 50 Constituency Labour Party (CLP) chairs found that 90% of them still back Corbyn. The leaders of the 12 strongest unions in the United Kingdom also wrote a letter of support following the attempted coup.
That a leader can look so sturdy in the face of an 172 MP strong no-confidence vote shows how much support he really has outside of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).
Embarrassingly for the plotters, the Labour coup has succeeded only in increasing Corbyn’s support.
You can become a member of the Labour party here.
You can join Momentum, the movement to steer Labour left from within, here.
You can sign the petition to back Corbyn here.
Featured image via The Buck Stops Here