UK: Tony Blair drives Labour members away at record speed

Tony Blair, cartoon by Steve Bell

From The Scotsman:

Contender warns Labour could lose its membership


LABOUR will be left with no members by 2013 if its rank and file supporters continue to desert the party at the rate of one every 20 minutes, John Cruddas, a contender for the deputy leadership, has warned.

Members are abandoning the party at a record rate of 27,000-a-year since 2000, with party membership dwindling to 198,026 by the end of last year.

The only way to woo back the faithful is to go back to Labour’s roots, said Mr Cruddas, a left-leaning former Downing Street adviser and MP for Dagenham.

The falling membership threatens to spell financial trouble for the party.

It recently admitted falling membership had triggered an “acute” crisis, with the party facing more than £23 million worth of debts.

Individual wealthy donors have been put off coming forward since the cash for honours inquiry.

The review into party funding by Sir Hayden Philips could also sever Labour’s historic reliance on trade unions for funding.

Mr Cruddas called for members to have more of a say in the direction of the party.

On Blairite Hazel Blears: here.

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