The Liberal Democrats are taking a pasting in the UK. minor coalition partners always take a bath. It has happened here as well and it is something the Greens can look forward to:
Documents filed with the Electoral Commission in recent days show that at the latest count in December 2011 the Lib Dems had 48,932 members, down from 65,038 a year before.
Mr Clegg’s stewardship of his party is expected to come under fire this week when David Cameron, the Prime Minister, announces that the Coalition have dropped plans to reform the House of Lords.
Introducing elected members of the Upper House became a key demand of many Lib Dems and a pet project of their leader.
It is understood Mr Clegg is now putting pressure on Mr Cameron to compensate his party for abandoning Lords reform in the face of trenchant opposition from Tory backbenchers.
One possible demand is an extra Lib Dem post in the Cabinet, which could be filled by David Laws, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
However, it is likely the party will try to make further demands, as well as refusing to support proposed changes to constituency boundaries that would make it easier for the Tories to win a majority at the next election.
The 25 per cent collapse in the size of the Lib Dems’ ranks members Mr Clegg’s party with fewer members than the British Psychologists Society or the population of the Northamptonshire town of Corby.
It is the first time the party’s membership has dipped below 50,000 since it was founded nearly 25 years ago.
Senior Lib Dems blamed the fall on “contamination” by association with the party’s Conservative Coalition partners.