THE conservative Liberal Democratic Federation (LDF) has suffered a 23 per cent drop in members over the past six months as it faces increasingly strong competition from other political groups. The party, set up in November 1990, has 130 members, compared with 170 at the end of last year. Some core LDF members left for the Liberal Party - which is led by legislator Allen Lee Peng-fei and forbids cross-membership - after plans to merge the two collapsed. Among them were LDF general committee members Peter Wong Hong-yuen, Ngai Shiu-kit and James Tien Pei-chun. But LDF executive vice-chairman Raymond Wu Wai-yung said his party would not launch a campaign to boost membership. He said events would be allowed to take their natural course. It was pointless to create a large party just for the sake of it. Dr Wu said the emergence of the Liberal Party was not the major cause of the drop in membership. People left the LDF for a number of reasons. Some joined other political groups and some just lost interest in politics. As party politics developed in the territory, it was natural to see a rising number of political groups, with some disbanding or merging at a later stage.