Keir Starmer hit by ‘exodus’ of Labour members led by Jeremy Corbyn supporters

Fall in party membership figures comes despite the new leader outperforming Boris Johnson in national polls

Keir Starmer leaves the BBC after an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show.
(Image credit: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Labour Party membership numbers have fallen by around 250 a day since Keir Starmer’s election as leader in April, newly published figures show.

Supporters of former leader Jeremy Corbyn are “leading an exodus from the party”, with the number of members falling by just under 57,000 people, or 10%, in the past seven months, The Times reports.

Membership numbers are now under 500,000 for the first time since Corbyn’s election, in 2016 - and the drop is “believed to have hastened in recent weeks” in the wake of the ex-leader’s suspension, the paper adds. Corbyn was reinstated last week after being booted out at the end of October following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into anti-Semitism within the party.

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According to figures published by Labour, the party had 552,835 members eligible to vote in its leadership election in April. That figure dropped to 495,961 in the National Executive Committee (NEC) elections two weeks ago.

Allies of Corbyn, including his former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, have urged supporters to retain their membership. But as a figure on the left of the party told The Times, the drop “shows the level of discontent with Keir and the scale of the left-wing membership”.

The decision to suspend Corbyn “sparked backlash from party members, dozens of whom took to social media to announce they were quitting”, says the Daily Express, which adds that the sudden fall in membership is a “humiliation” for Starmer.

However, while Corbyn supporters are abandoning Starmer, the country as a whole appears to be impressed with the “new management” of Labour. A recent Statista poll of more than 1,600 people had Starmer leading Boris Johnson by ten points when respondents were asked who would make the better prime minister.

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Joe Evans is the world news editor at He joined the team in 2019 and held roles including deputy news editor and acting news editor before moving into his current position in early 2021. He is a regular panellist on The Week Unwrapped podcast, discussing politics and foreign affairs. 

Before joining The Week, he worked as a freelance journalist covering the UK and Ireland for German newspapers and magazines. A series of features on Brexit and the Irish border got him nominated for the Hostwriter Prize in 2019. Prior to settling down in London, he lived and worked in Cambodia, where he ran communications for a non-governmental organisation and worked as a journalist covering Southeast Asia. He has a master’s degree in journalism from City, University of London, and before that studied English Literature at the University of Manchester.