UK political parties have to make regular financial reports to the Electoral Commission, and this provides a lot of data about their activities. Parties aren’t required to provide membership figures, but they often do include them in their reports. Here are the figures for the Cambridge Parliamentary consituency, which covers all of Cambridge City except Queen Edith’s ward:
The Lib Dems dutifully report their membership every year, and it has risen by about 30% since 2001, with a noticeable boost in General Election years (2005 and 2010).
Labour has only included a couple of membership figures in their reports, 632 for 2005 and 797 in 2010, a 26% rise over five years. 2005 was of course the year that Labour’s Anne Campbell lost the Cambridge parliamentary seat to David Howarth, with the Iraq War a major issue.
The Cambridge Conservative party hasn’t made any reports to the Electoral Commission, presumably because its turnover doesn’t reached the required threshold of £25,000, and I haven’t found any membership figures for them. Would any of my Conservative readers care to comment?
The Greens made their first report in 2010, as their vigorous General Election campaign sent their annual spending in Cambridge to £44,783. Their report gave their total membership in Cambridge as 114, up from 96 the previous year.
Of course, all these numbers are pretty small compared to the overall size of the Cambridge electorate, which is 75,259 for Parliamentary elections. It’s also interesting to compare them with the membership of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign (over 1,100), and Cambridge Past Present & Future (over 1,700), though both these organisations cover a wider area than the Cambridge Parliamentary consituency.
The Electoral Commission reports also include a lot of information about donations to and spending by local parties, and I’ll be looking at this in a future post.