SNP ‘could overtake Lib Dems as UK’s third party’

Senior SNP MSPs pictured at the party's Spring Conference. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Senior SNP MSPs pictured at the party's Spring Conference. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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MEMBERSHIP of the SNP is closing in on that of the Liberal Democrats across the UK, the party has claimed.

Nationalist party membership has soared by almost 17,000 since Scotland voted to reject independence last week while 3,000 people have joined the Scottish Greens.

The Scottish Socialists have also seen a significant rise in membership.

The number of SNP members was 42,336 as at 4pm on Monday, compared to 25,642 at 5pm last Thursday.

The last confirmed UK-wide Lib Dems’ membership number was 43,451 at the start of this year, although the party said it expected to top the 44,000 mark in April.

Ukip had 38,124 members as of May 19.

SNP business convener Derek Mackay said: “Scotland’s referendum was an incredible triumph of democracy - and the new wave of democratic engagement and activism the Yes campaign inspired shows no signs of stopping.

“That nearly 17,000 new members have joined the SNP in the last few days - taking the party’s membership to over 42,000 - is incredibly encouraging and confirms that it is the SNP that the people of Scotland trust to work in Scotland’s best interests.

“This was reinforced by the Survation poll carried out immediately after the referendum which put SNP support at 49 per cent for a Scottish Parliament election - four points up even on our 2011 landslide vote.”

Mr Mackay claimed Labour’s position in Scotland was growing “more and more precarious” as he called on the Westminster parties to fully deliver on their vow for more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

He added: “Anything less than the substantial powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous place would be an insult to this new movement.

“Westminster has to deliver - or the No parties will face the consequences at the ballot box.”

The new recruits take total membership of the Scottish Greens to just over the 5,000 mark.

Co-convenor Patrick Harvie said: “I want to thank the vast number of people who have been in touch over recent days to offer support, share their thoughts about the Green Yes campaign, and to join the party in their thousands - including those who voted Yes and No.

“We’ll be going into the next election as a much bigger party than we could have imagined and the potential clearly still exists for a dramatic realignment of Scotland’s political landscape.

“One thing is very clear to me. As well as the huge numbers of Yes voters who sought the kind of radical change that Westminster is unlikely to deliver, there are also many who voted No but who share our commitment to a sustainable economy, a fair and equal society and a renewed democratic culture.”