Labour Party, UK's primary opposition party has seen an increase in membership following the December 2019 general election, it was reported on Saturday. This is also in the middle of a leadership contest underway to replace Jeremy Corbyn, the incumbent chief.

The BBC report said that the rise in local membership has been reported by Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) in the wake of the leadership race. The members will vote from February 21 to select a new chief for the party.

Increase seen across the country

In Hammersmith, west London, the CLP has seen a 32 percent increase with 413 members joining in a single month, while in Bury North numbers have gone up by 26 per cent with 202 people signing up.

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Elsewhere, Richmond, south-west London, now boasts 350 new members, up 30 percent, and Hove, East Sussex, has 477 more, up 21 percent, while Exeter has seen a 25 percent increase with 300 additional members. It was, however, not clear whether these members have only joined to get a vote - but the surge will boost Labour's finances.

Five candidates in the fray

The five candidates in the leadership race are Indian-origin MP Lisa Nandy, Birmingham MP Jess Phillips; Shadow First Secretary of State Emily Thornberry; Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Keir Starmer; and Shadow Business Secretary MP Rebecca Long-Bailey. The five contenders need the support of 5 percent of local parties or at least three affiliates by February 14 to make the final ballot.

Members of the public who join the party or become affiliated supporters before January 20 will be eligible to vote in the contest, said the BBC. Corbyn signalled his intention to stand down after Labour lost its fourth general election in a row and his second as Labour leader following the December 12, 2019 polls.

(With inputs from agencies)