In a surprising development today, the Liberal Democrats became the UK’s second largest national party, overtaking the Conservatives, amidst the revelation by a senior Conservative activist that Tory membership had fallen to around 100,000, below the Liberal Democrats’ 105,000.
The news means Sir Vince Cable’s party are behind only the Labour Party in terms of the major national parties. The SNP have around 115,000 members, but only stand in Scotland, and therefore are not included in the ranking of national parties. It will be welcome news for the Liberal Democrats, who were also shown by polling last week to have the most popular party leader in Britain.
An internal Liberal Democrat source said that this was “clear evidence that the Liberal Democrats are back in business.”
“When Tim Farron said to Lib Dem conference two years ago that he wanted membership to exceed 100,000, people thought he was joking. But we’ve smashed that, and with a new leader, we’ve already overtaken the Conservatives in terms of voluntary party size.”