Labour members quitting over Jeremy Corbyn's stance on Brexit, records show

Written by David Singleton on 3 March 2017 in Diary

Corbyn is accused of having 'kowtowed to the leavers’ mandate and to the noisy triumphalism of the anti-European press'.

How is Jeremy Corbyn doing with all of those Labour supporters who wanted the UK to remain in the European Union?

After the Labour leader whipped his MPs to support the article 50 bill, politics professor John Curtice suggested that Corbyn had made a mighty miscalculation.

"Labour seems to have forgotten (or not realised) that most of those who voted Labour in 2015 – including those living in Labour seats in the north and the Midlands – backed remain,” he wrote in The Guardian last week.

“The party is thus at greater risk of losing votes to the pro-remain Liberal Democrats than to pro-Brexit Ukip.”

In today’s paper, Guardian associate editor Matin Kettle strikes the same notes, suggesting that the Labour leadership has alienated many left-leaning Remainers by waving through Theresa May’s hard Brexit.

"Instead of standing up as much as possible for Britain’s post-Brexit place in Europe, Labour has increasingly kowtowed to the leavers’ mandate and to the noisy triumphalism of the anti-European press…

"There is nothing socialist about this, nothing social democratic, nothing liberal, nothing progressive, nothing moral, nothing with any optimism or imagination."

And now there is fresh evidence that both Curtice and Kettle could be onto something.

Internal party documents show that Labour lost more than 5,000 members in just one week last month amid concerns about the party's approach to the Brexit process.

A document seen by PoliticsHome shows the dramatic drop took place from 13-19 February. The total is made up of 4,651 who allowed their membership to lapse, 781 who resigned and 52 who died.

The document states: "The main reason for resigning this week was: 'Not happy with the party’s approach to Brexit'."

Because of the way Labour records its figures, lapsed memberships are not officially recorded for six months.

A total of 433 people joined Labour over the same seven-day period and the party's total membership still stood at 528,720, meaning it is still the largest political organisation in western Europe.

Meanwhile The Times reports that Labour has lost nearly 26,000 members since last summer.



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