Momentum blames Sir Keir Starmer as Labour loses nearly 100,000 members

Momentum has blamed Sir Keir Starmer for Labour losing nearly 100,000 members, with Left-wing MPs piling pressure on the party leader over his stance on strikes.

The socialist group said the drop in membership, revealed in the latest Labour accounts, was “alarming” and accused Sir Keir of “prompting an exodus” of grassroots supporters.

Labour’s accounts, published by the Electoral Commission, showed that the party lost some 91,000 members last year and ended the year with a deficit of more than £5 million. Membership fell from 523,332 at the end of 2020 to 432,213 in a year, according to the accounts.

It comes amid mounting tension within Labour over strikes, with Momentum holding a virtual summit on Thursday to express its solidarity with workers.

‘Alienating trade unions’

Hilary Schan, who co-chairs Momentum, said: “These figures are alarming. Keir Starmer’s pledge-breaking and factional approach has prompted an exodus of Labour members and a financial crisis for the party.

“Yet the leadership has welcomed these departures while actively alienating Labour’s affiliated trade unions, which give millions to the party.

“If Starmer wants to get Labour back on the right track, he should start by properly supporting the affiliated trade unions and striking workers fighting to defend their livelihoods.”

The party treasurer’s report described 2021 as a “difficult and demanding year”, with redundancy pay-offs contributing to its losses, saying party finances “do remain challenging with pressure on income coinciding with increasing costs”.

Labour sources pointed out that the amount of money the party made from membership fees last year was comparable with 2017 and 2018 levels, when membership boomed during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

A Labour spokesman said: “Thanks to Keir Starmer’s firm leadership and clear commitment to taking Labour back into power, the party is on track to returning to a firm financial footing, with commercial income and donations rising significantly.”

The Momentum summit, organised to coincide with Thursday’s rail strikes, is designed to put pressure on Sir Keir to back workers taking industrial action.

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