Tuesday, 25 August 2009


There were a number of stories some time ago about the sudden surge in membership of the local constituency of the Conservatives in Wales. Both the membership secretary at the time and a former chairman of the Conservatives' Wales area committee drew very public attention to the fact. The allegation was that the party was the victim of entryism by supporters of hunting, determined to get their preferred candidate selected on the basis of this one issue.

Their former membership secretary, who was himself Assembly candidate for the constituency for about 24 hours, talked in February 2007 of there being '400 members' in the constituency. With the infiltrators having achieved their desired aim, it seems that the party is now suffering from exitism, as people leave the party in droves. By the end of 2007, the total had fallen to 323, and by the end of 2008, it had plummeted to 200 according to their report to the Electoral Commission. I wouldn't be in the least surprised to see a further fall next year.

I've been surprised at how sanguine the party's hierarchy have been about the whole situation – to the extent of expelling the complainants rather than the infiltrators. If a Plaid Cymru constituency reported a large increase in membership just before a key selection, followed by an equally sharp drop after the event, I'd be instituting some sort of internal investigation.


Anonymous said...

You do like your investigations, don't you?

John Dixon said...

Not really, no. But sometimes they're necessary.