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Conservatives and Labour see memberships drop in Brighton and Hove
Political membership is on the decline with dozens of people ditching the two major parties.
Both the Conservatives and Labour in Brighton and Hove have reported a drop in those officially affiliated to their cause in the last year.
Figures produced in a national newspaper show Conservative membership in two of the three constituencies in the city – Brighton Pavilion and Hove - is down 68 from 424 in 2011 to 356.
Labour has also reported a double-digit drop in a year.
Graham Cox, deputy chairman of Brighton and Hove Conservatives, said: “Of course we would love more people to formally join but it is a fact of modern life that the age of the mass membership political party is probably over.
“Party membership tends to go up a bit when in opposition and go down a bit as difficult decisions are taken in Government.”
Coun Cox said the party had seen a growth in young members locally and had been successful in opening up selection for candidates to supporters, as well as members.
He said: “The future for Brighton and Hove Conservatives is to look outwards, not inwards on itself.”
In response, Labour councillor Warren Morgan said: “This is bad news for the Tories in the city. With members haemorrhaging to UKIP they now have few activists left to fight elections and dwindling support.
“Once dominant locally, their chances of holding seats in 2015 now look slim.”
Recent figures from Labour presented at its last AGM show it has 1,447 members across the city.
In the last year, 137 have joined and 208 left.
These were the first figures produced since Labour merged all three constituencies into a city-wide party.
Claiming the majority of the decline was due to lapsed memberships and people dying, Coun Morgan described it as “more of a clear-out of old data under one list”.
Rob Shepherd, a member of the executive committee of Brighton and Hove Green Party, said: “As policy, we never give out local party membership breakdowns.
“However I can tell you that it is much larger than this quoted Tory figure, our numbers have risen by 35% since Caroline Lucas’ election [as Brighton Pavilion MP in 2010] and that our national membership is about 13,000.”
Lev Eakins, of Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats, said it had 127 members with new members moving and joining every month.
He added: “Being in government has certainly shaken things up, and we can't please all the people all the time - so just as Labour lost thousands of members over the course of their time in government, so we've seen a similar decline.”
The cost of a working adult to join a political party for a year varies.
Labour is the most expensive at £44.50 while the Conservatives charge £25 and the Liberal Democrats a minimum of £12.
The Greens charge £31 and UK Independence Party ask for £30
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