More than 400 join local Labour group since election

The increase in membership makes Hornsey and Wood Green one of the largest CLPs in the country

THE political tide is changing in Hornsey and Wood Green, according to the local Labour party, who say a wave of new members have turned to the Labour Party since the formation of the coalition government.

In the five months since Nick Clegg famously shook hands with David Cameron, the Hornsey and Wood Green CLP report they have enrolled 419 new members – a near 50 per cent increase on their previous tally – making them one of the largest groups in the country and rejuvenating formerly moribund branches.

The seat which saw Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone – and now Home Office minister – easily win a second term with 46.5 per cent of the vote has seen a shift in the political landscape, members claim.

New faces and old have bumped the Hornsey and Wood Green membership figures up to 1,292 and apparently include a large number of disgruntled former Liberal Democrat voters.

The new chair of the Hornsey branch, Adam Jogee typifies this rebirth – at just 18 he is the party’s youngest elected representative and has added 70 members since the election, swelling it to more than 100.

He says these people come from a variety of backgrounds, from parents to teenagers.

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“We have a lot of former Lib Dem members, and middle class mums who were Lib Dem lovers of yesteryear who are, for instance, increasingly concerned with the direction of the government on the child benefit issue,” he said.

“Also lot of my school friends who used to laugh at me for my love of politics all came out and said they voted Labour.

“University fees, child benefits, the failure to vote for 16-year-olds to have the vote – all these things are just piling up and increasingly the Lib Dems are not being seen as a party for students, but of u-turns.”

He says the belief that Liberal Democrats are complicit in backing a Tory government that only 16.7 per cent of the constituency voted for is a major factor in people becoming Labour members and turning to those representatives for help.

“We might not be elected in the west of the borough, but people are realising it doesn’t mean they can’t come and tell us their issues and I’m seeing that increasingly,” he said.

Lib Dem leader for Haringey, Cllr Robert Gorrie was quick to dismiss the ‘red wave’.

“I can assure you 400 people have not left our party, so it’s clearly not all Liberal Democrats,” he said.

“I’m pleased for Labour that losing an election and being out of government has made them more attractive – I think that’s quite significant.

“Having seen the mess they have made of public finances – with the country paying enough interest on loans each hour to build a new primary school – clearly there are massive and difficult changes necessary.

“The awful truth is one man’s cuts are another man’s job and they are never going to be popular and I can understand that frustration and anger, but actually it needs to be done.

“Locally we won the election with a bigger majority and the voters who feel they voted Lib Dem and got Tory have not got Tory – they have got a party that’s producing the pupil premium, rolling back all the civil liberty infringements made by Labour and hopefully bring about voting reform. They are getting a coalition.”

To hear the stories of three new members, see this week’s Broadway.