MEMBERSHIP of the Labour party in Renfrewshire has plummeted over the past year, latest figures show.

The Renfrewshire South constituency, which takes in Johnstone, Elderslie, Kilbarchan, Lochwinnoch and Howwood, had 317 members in January 2018 but that number had fallen to 259 by last month – a drop of 58.

Labour has also been losing members in the Renfrewshire North and West constituency, which includes Renfrew, Bishopton, Bridge of Weir, Langbank, Erskine and Inchinnan, where the total is down by 52, from 258 to 206.

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And it is a similar story in Paisley, where membership now had fallen to 284 last month – down by 38 from the January 2018 total of 322. 

The Gazette: Labour MP Paul Sweeney brushed off the statistics Labour MP Paul Sweeney brushed off the statistics

Across Scotland as a whole, Labour has suffered a drop in membership of almost 20 per cent.

Kirsty Blackman, the SNP's deputy leader at Westminster, claimed the figures show Labour is "on the path to terminal decline and total irrelevance in Scotland."

However, Labour MP Paul Sweeney, who represents Glasgow North East, said the decline is part of the "natural cycle" of politics.

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He added: "Last year, we had a leadership election. As many people who are familiar with party political dynamics will know, many people join parties in order to participate in leadership elections."