Up to 20 Liberal Democrat staff face redundancy in a move by the cash-strapped party to save hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“A lot of things have collided at once. All the parties are experiencing fatigue over the last four years following two elections and a referendum” Lib Dem source
The job losses are a fresh blow for the Lib Dems who are struggling to gain traction after more than three years in the electoral doldrums.
They have been hit by a combination of a drop in membership fees, a fall in donations and losses from their party conference.
Employees have been warned that as many as 20 of the party’s 80-strong workforce could be made redundant.
The news was delivered to staff at the party’s Westminster headquarters by its chief executive, Sir Nick Harvey.
If enough volunteers cannot be found, the party will move to compulsory redundancies.
One source told i : “A lot of things have collided at once. All the parties are experiencing fatigue over the last four years following two elections and a referendum.”
Liberal Democrat membership stands at 99,000, an increase over the last two years, but it is understood that members are increasingly opting not to top up their subscriptions.
The former Lib Dem leader Sir Nick Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat in last year’s general election.
The party continues to trail its bigger rivals in donations, receiving almost £600,000 in the second quarter of this year, compared with almost £5m for the Conservative and more than £2m for Labour.
The Lib Dems are yet to recover from two bruising general elections which saw them win just eight seats in 2015 and 12 in 2017. The former leader, Sir Nick Clegg, lost his Sheffield Hallam seat last year.
Languishing in polls
Despite some gains on local councils, they have failed to achieve lift-off under Sir Vince Cable’s leadership.
They are averaging around nine per cent in the polls, while Labour and the Tories are each backed by about 40 per cent of voters.
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “We are in the process of carrying out a reorganisation which will see a reduction in the number of staff at our headquarters.
“We are focusing our resources to carry on leading the fight against Brexit and taking on power and privilege to build a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
“Since gaining seats in last year’s General Election the Liberal Democrats have been winning seats in council by-elections across the country and are leading the fight to stop Brexit through a People’s Vote.”