How much does it cost to join a political party?

I haven't been a paid up member of any political party for about 8 years. I was, however, a member of the old Liberal party for 7 years and of Plaid Cymru for over 20 years. From what I remember the membership fee was quite reasonable for both parties. I was quite shocked to read on the Conservative Home blog a comment suggesting that the membership fee for joining the Conservatives seems to be quite exorbitant. The cost arises in a comment by a wannabe candidate who is upset at Mr Cameron's idea of opening up candidates lists to non members:

Last year, I had to join the Conservatives before I could go in front of the PAB, at a cost of £225 plus VAT. Now, Mr Cameron says that anyone is welcome, whatever their political background. How does that work? Will I get a refund?

As the paid up members are the backbone of any party and the ones that can be called upon and relied upon to do the donkey work during election periods, I would have thought that the joining up fee should be pitched at a level that encouraged people to join. Even if I was the biggest Tory fan in the world, I doubt if I would fork out £225 plus VAT (another thirty odd quid?) to join.

Is this sort of membership fee common to all parties now, or is it just the Conservatives who think that their supporters can afford such high fees?


  1. Labour membership depends on your income, ranges from £19 (unemployed) - £132 (over £50k) a year

    Plaid is £18 employed or £6 unemployed

    Lib Dems have a minimum of £10 (£6 if on benefits)

    Tories is £25

  2. Hi Alwyn,

    No idea where these figures came from but they are not correct. Annual Membership for the Conservative Party is £25 with student discounts also on offer.

  3. Yeah, it's £25 for an ordinary member of the Tory Party. I presume the additional costs go towards their compulsory vetting procedures and training weekends for prospective parliamentary candidates, to make sure you're not a loon. The vetting doesn't always work, though (cough Boris Johnson cough)

  4. Oh and there's student discounts too, as Anon rightly says. For the first few years in the party, I paid only £3 each year.