Photo: The Globe and Mail

Ottawa: Conservative leadership candidates say they’ve sold memberships to hundreds of thousands of Canadians ahead of the September vote.

Pierre Poilievre’s campaign claims to have signed up more than 311,000 people before Friday’s deadline, which on its own is more than the total number of members who voted in the last two leadership races.

Patrick Brown’s team says it sold more than 150,000 memberships, while Jean Charest’s campaign says it added “tens of thousands” of members.

The Canadian Press has not been able to verify the numbers released by the campaigns, and party president Rob Batherson said in a statement that Conservative officials will not be commenting on specific numbers from any candidate.

He says the Tories will “set a record for the largest number of paid members of any political party in Canadian history” and that party staff are working long hours to verify the applications.

The final tally will be announced by July 29, once a preliminary list has been provided to the campaigns for review and potential challenges.