Socialist Party placards at London protest against war on Gaza. Photo: Nick Clare
Socialist Party placards at London protest against war on Gaza. Photo: Nick Clare

Bea Gardner, Socialist Party National Committee

Senior Labour politicians have dismissed the tens of thousands leaving the party over its stance on Gaza by proclaiming Labour is no longer a ‘party of protest’. 

Since January alone, more than 23,000 members have resigned, with the decline attributed to Starmer’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The party now has 165,400 fewer members than at the end of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Shadow minister Darren Jones told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the fall reflects the “difficult decisions” and “trade-offs” the party has made under Keir Starmer’s leadership. He explained the surge in membership under Corbyn was due to the party being seen as a ‘protest party’ – quite clearly signaling that it no longer is!

In the last 18 months, workers have taken historic strike action, fighting for pay rises to end the cost-of-living nightmare. Yet Starmer told Labour politicians not to speak out on picket lines.

Hundreds of thousands have joined marches and rallies against the horrifying slaughter in Gaza, while Starmer suspended Labour MPs speaking out.

1.4 million young people in 128 countries participated in the largest youth-led day of climate protests in history in March 2019 – now Labour has slashed its green investment fund.

If this isn’t enough evidence that Labour is not a party prepared to fight in the interests of workers and young people, just look at how its funding has changed.

Under Keir Starmer’s leadership, donations from businesses and individual donors have skyrocketed by 500%. In 2023, a staggering £14.5 million was donated by companies and individuals, with £10 million of this coming from just four sources, including £4.6 million from Autoglass business tycoon Gary Lubner.

Socialist Party stand

The Socialist Party is funded entirely by our members and supporters – working-class and young people. We have a proud record of supporting workers and young people in struggle. In the general election, we are preparing to stand socialist, anti-cuts, anti-war candidates, directly challenging the big business warmongers at the ballot box.

But that stand costs money. Donating to our special election fund will help us cover the £500 deposit required for every candidate and the minimum of £700 needed to deliver leaflets to every door in the constituencies we stand.

What can you contribute towards our £50,000?