Members of the Labour Party who joined under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership “preferred a party of protest”, shadow Treasury minister Darren Jones has said.

Mr Jones was responding to reports Labour Party membership has fallen by 23,000 since the beginning of 2024, according to figures released to its national executive committee (NEC).

The NEC heard that membership numbers had fallen to just over 366,000 from a high under former leader Jeremy Corbyn of more than half a million.

Labour has faced criticism from membership over the party’s response to the war in Gaza and a cut to its £28 billion green investment plan.

Responding to the decline in membership, Mr Jones told Good Morning Britain that “membership numbers of parties go up and down all the time”.

He said: “There was also a huge surge in membership of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and many Jeremy Corbyn supporters preferred a party of protest as opposed to a party who have had to make difficult decisions around the trade-offs in its preparation for government in the hope that we get to run this country.

“We’ve still got plenty of Labour Party members across the country, I think more than any other party.”

A recent poll suggested that Rishi Sunak’s Tories could be reduced to fewer than 100 MPs at the general election.

The 15,000-person poll was used to create a seat-by-seat breakdown, which indicated the Conservatives would be wiped out in Scotland and Wales, and hold just 98 seats in England.

The survey put Labour on 45% with a 19-point lead over the Tories on 26% and suggested Sir Keir Starmer’s party could be on course for a landslide, winning 468 seats.

Mr Jones said the party had more work to do to convince voters despite its significant lead in the polls.

He told Good Morning Britain: “We do have work to do to win the trust, respect and motivations across the country, not least because we performed so badly under Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, but the scale of the challenge is historic in size, and huge operationally for us to achieve.”