Lib Dem voters 'joining Labour'
Labour has been bolstered by an unprecedented surge of new members who have signed up mainly to oppose the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Harriet Harman has claimed.
Some 21,000 people had joined the party since the general election as part of what the acting Labour leader hailed as an "emerging political movement" on the left.
Almost a third of the new members were Lib Dem voters dismayed by that party's partnership in power with the Tories, she said. Half were Labour voters who were now especially determined to get the party back into power.
"Clearly, the sight of David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the rose garden of Number 10 had a stunning effect," she said, referring to the first joint press conference by the Prime Minister and his deputy.
In a speech to the Fabians, Ms Harman said the increase in membership had helped ensure Labour was "in good heart and good spirits" despite its general election defeat in May.
The surge was "unprecedented" and would "change our party for good", she went on.
"There is an emerging political movement happening amongst progressives in Britain," she said.
"They see that the Tory-Lib Dem government has no mandate. They see there's a big difference between what they thought they voted for and what they ended up with - and they just aren't comfortable with it.
"They are coming to join Labour because they reject the Tory-Lib Dem government and because they see Labour as their vehicle for progressive, value-driven change.
"We will build on this incredible surge of positive energy and enthusiasm from our new MPs and from our new members. They are the shot in the arm we need to mobilise, organise and revitalise."