The future of the left since 1884

More to do: Unequal experiences of Labour party membership

This Fabian Society report explores unequal experiences of Labour party membership and presents members' views on improving representation and inclusion in the party


Membership of the Labour party matters. At its best, it brings activists identity, community, fulfilment and friendship. But negative experiences of membership are too common.

New Fabian Society research shows that many party activists find some fellow members unfriendly, meetings unenjoyable and local parties unfair. And critically, members from disadvantaged and unrepresented backgrounds are more likely to say this. Experiences of local parties are unequal.

The survey findings are a rear-view mirror for the Labour party, capturing members’ experiences in recent years up to summer 2021. Reforms newly introduced by the party came after the survey was carried out so won’t be reflected in the results. Nevertheless, it is important evidence for Labour in taking forward its commitment to equality and inclusion within the membership.

This is the second time the Fabian Society has run a comprehensive survey on how active members of the Labour Party feel about their local parties and their experiences of seeking leadership and candidate positions. When it comes to inequality there has been little progress since the last survey in 2015.


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Ben Cooper

Ben is a senior researcher at the Fabian Society.


Andrew Harrop

Andrew Harrop is general secretary of the Fabian Society.


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