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One of the Tory party’s longest serving political campaigners has said that the Conservative party are ‘facing oblivion’ and will not have enough activists to fight another General Election after new figures show the party has lost almost a third of their members since 2013.

In an exclusive interview with Tribune magazine, John Strafford, chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, revealed that the Tories now have just 100,000 members, down from around 140,000 just 4 years ago.

The Tories have always attempted to keep their true membership figures a closely guarded secret, and Strafford’s revelations will have caused significant embarrassment for the party on the eve of the Conservative conference.

Strafford told Tribune magazine that:

The party is facing oblivion. If you take the fact only 10 per cent of the membership is likely to be very active they will not have enough people on the ground to fight an election – they won’t even have enough people to man polling stations on the day.

 

They are keeping council seats because often the families of the councillors are campaigning with party members to get them re-elected. They simply don’t have the local resources to do this in a general election.

Mr Strafford also said that in 300 of the Conservatives’ Parliamentary constituency parties, membership has dropped below 100, adding that:

They are keeping council seats because often the families of the councillors are campaigning with party members to get them re-elected. They simply don’t have the local resources to do this in a general election.

The revelations will come as a another huge blow to Theresa May’s leadership, and are compounded by the fact that the new figures may mean that the Conservative Party now have fewer paying members than the Liberal Democrats – a party with just 12 MPs in the House of Commons, compared to the Tories’ 316.

The figures also come in stark contrast to the Labour party, who announced this week that they are now the ‘biggest political party in Europe’ with an astonishing 570,000 paying members.

Mr Strafford attributed the huge decline in Tory membership to disillusionment among members, with huge numbers of paid up Tories failing to renew their membership after the farcical leadership contest to elect Theresa May – a contest where members had absolutely no say in proceedings.

The farce continued after Theresa May called the snap election, imposing candidates in many seats rather than letting constituency parties select their own via democratic means.

Tory MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon, backed Strafford’s analysis pointing to a lack of democracy within the party causing members to flee in huge numbers, saying:

I began to realise that, far from being a lunatic, John was quite sane…and it was perhaps us who closed our ears to what he was saying who were the crazy ones. For many years, he rightly predicted that a lack of democracy would lead to a loss of membership. He was right.

 

The Campaign for Conservative Democracy will be holding a fringe meeting at Tory Conference on Monday to discuss how they should tackle this latest Tory crisis.

Furthermore, pro-Tory thinktank, The Adam Smith Institute, will be holding a similar meeting on Tuesday to try and establish exactly why 60% of younger people are supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s revitalised Labour party.

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