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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Labour's big lies

The acting leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman has just told Andrew Marr on his BBC Sunday show that 32,000 people have joined Labour since the General Election, one third of them ex-Liberal Democrat.

This may sound plausible to Labour activists but it is easy to check. Firstly, the Labour membership form does not ask you to provide information about previous political affiliations, so how can Harman know what they were?

Secondly, the Liberal Democrats have not lost anything like 1,000 members in that period, never mind 10,000. In fact we have had a net membership increase of around 4,000. Scotland has had an 18.2% increase, Wales too has seen a rise in affiliations, whilst in my own local party we have had a 25% increase.

There is no doubt that the Liberal Democrats will suffer in the same way as any other governing party over time. Both the Conservatives and Labour saw a dramatic drop in membership during previous periods of government. However, at the moment we are bucking the trend and are set to have one of the best-attended conferences ever later this week, in which, despite media speculation to the contrary, the vast majority of representatives will be united behind our Ministers and the coalition.

Meanwhile, Harriet Harman needs to go back to school. After all if she cannot get simple membership figures right then how can we believe anything that she and the Labour Party say ever again?
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