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Labour's lost grassroots: The rise and fall of party membership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-206
Number of pages26
JournalBritish Politics
Issue number2
Early online date17 Dec 2012
DateE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2012
DatePublished (current) - May 2013


After years of declining membership, and in the wake of a general election in which it recorded its lowest share of the popular vote since 1983, the Labour party is trying to increase the number of its members. This is not, of course, the first time that Labour has attempted to re-create a mass-membership. New Labour deployed many of the same techniques between 1994 and 1997. This article both assesses the extent of the current membership crisis and explores that earlier experience. In doing so, it considers the lessons for the party today both of New Labour’s initial success in attracting new members and of its ultimate failure to retain them.

    Research areas

  • Labour party, grassroots membership, New Labour

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  • Labour’s lost grassroots: the rise and fall of party membership

    Rights statement: This is a pre-print of an article accepted for publication in British Politics. The definitive publisher-authenticated version, H. Pemberton and M. Wickham-Jones, ‘Labour’s lost grassroots: the rise and fall of party membership’. British Politics, vol. 8 (2013) is available online at:

    Submitted manuscript, 664 KB, PDF document


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