Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses delegates and members at the party conference last year. Look at the body language in the image chosen by the Guardian‘s editors – like he’s challenging the members. That’s deliberate – to create an impression of an adversarial leader who stands against the members, rather than one with the majority of his party supporting him [Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images].

Here’s The Guardian making a pig’s ear out of a reported fall in Labour membership figures.

Deputy political editor Rowena Mason seems keen to pin the fall on disenchantment with Jeremy Corbyn, but the evidence doesn’t demonstrate this.

Firstly, the report shows that 40,000 members are in arrears – many are likely to pay their sub after a reminder.

Ms Mason is forced to admit that it is not known whether the lapsed members are supporters or detractors of Mr Corbyn.

And the information that many resigned because Labour supported the Article 50 Bill is unhelpful because, of course, this was a decision by the party to support the result of the EU membership referendum, that was made before the referendum took place and to which the leadership was honour-bound to adhere.

Some MPs reneged against that promise, but that reflects poorly on them, not Mr Corbyn or the party generally.

The simple fact is that a small drop in membership was inevitable after the activity of recent months.

Labour remains the largest political party in the UK – bigger than all the other main parties put together.

Ms Mason skates over this by merely providing membership figures for the other parties without drawing the obvious conclusion.

And there’s always the opportunity to get a rentaquote from a right-wing party member to reinforce the slant Ms Mason wants to put on the story.

This is a poorly-conceived effort to denigrate the current left-wing Labour leadership. Whatever happened to the Graun‘s integrity?

Labour membership is expected to fall below half a million for the first time since its peak under Jeremy Corbyn because about 40,000 people are in arrears.

The unusual number of lapsed payments was discussed at a meeting of Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) on Tuesday, as the drop will hit Labour’s budget.

A source present at the meeting said the number of members who are up to date with their payments is now about 483,000, with about 40,000 having fallen behind.

Updated data was presented to the NEC on Tuesday, but it is hard to know if those failing to renew their membership are supporters of Corbyn who joined to vote in the leadership contest, or his opponents who do not like the direction the party is taking.

A Labour source said many of those who gave a reason for resigning their membership said it was because of Corbyn’s decision to whip his MPs in favour of voting for article 50.

Source: Labour membership expected to fall below half a million | Politics | The Guardian

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