Co-operative Party membership grows faster than all main UK-wide parties

Katie Neame

The Co-operative Party’s membership has grown faster than any of the main UK-wide political parties since the 2019 general election, according to new analysis, increasing by almost a fifth to more than 13,000.

The analysis by the Co-operative Party found that the percentage growth it has seen in its membership since the last election has exceeded that of parties including the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The Co-operative Party, which is Labour’s sister party, calculated that its membership grew by 19.5% between 2019 and 2022 – the latest official figures available – from 11,040 to 13,194.

The party also saw its total number of elected representatives more than double in the same time period, increasing from 700 to more than 1,600.

Commenting on the figures, Co-operative Party general secretary Joe Fortune said: “With the country still battling with the cost-of-living crisis, too many people feel powerless over their everyday lives.

“People don’t just want change – they demand change. It’s no surprise then that the Co-operative Party is growing faster than any other UK-wide political party.

“Born out of a need for change, the values and principles of the co-operative movement puts power into the hands of communities – something which is desperately needed right now

“From communities owning their own energy to giving local people a say and stake in their local assets, people are buying into our co-operative vision for the country. Together with the Labour Party, we’re working towards the next general election to build a fairer, greener Britain which works for everyone.”

The Co-operative Party’s analysis compared its membership numbers to parties with elected MPs in parliament whose membership figures are publicly available.

According to the analysis, Conservative Party membership has risen by 7.5% since 2019, while Labour Party membership has fallen by 23.4%.

The research was based on the membership figures included in Labour’s annual financial statements, published by the Electoral Commission each August. The party reported that its total membership at the end of 2022 was 407,445, down from 432,213 a year previously.

Commenting on changing membership figures earlier in the year, a national executive committee source told LabourList that membership “always declines in between general elections” and that the “rate of natural attrition is lower than we’d usually expect”.

They added: “There’s been a change in the political composition of Labour members – it’s very obvious that many Corbyn-era members have departed, but the majority have been replaced by new members who are enthusiastic about the direction Keir is taking the party in.

“The entire recent history of the Labour Party suggests the immediate general election campaign and month after it will see a big guaranteed influx of new members. People join if Labour wins and join if it loses.”

The Co-operative Party is launching a new member mobilisation tool next week, which enables members to find their nearest party candidate in the run-up to the general election, including dates of campaign days and launches with candidates.

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