Scottish National Party membership soars after referendum

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon makes bid to take over SNP leadership as more than 32,000 people join party, making it the UK's third-biggest.

Scottish National Party membership soars after referendum

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tens of thousands of people have flocked to join the Scottish National Party, the party has said, despite the “Yes” campaign's failure to secure victory in last week's Scottish independence referendum.

SNP membership now stands at more than 57,000 - a growth of more than 32,000 - the party disclosed on Wednesday, making it the third-largest party in the UK.

In comparison, the Lib Dems have around 44,000 members across the entire UK while Labour are believed to have about 13,000 members in Scotland.

The news came as Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made her bid to take over the leadership of the SNP, following Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond announcement on Friday that he was resigning following the party's failure to win independence from the United Kingdom.

"I am putting myself forward for two simple reasons: I want to serve my party and my country,” said Sturgeon.

She said she was “more convinced than ever” that Scotland will one day be independent and ruled out the possibility of a referendum being a part of the SNP manifesto.

“If there is a commitment to a referendum in a manifesto of the SNP at an election, and we win that election, then that is a mandate for a referendum,” she said speaking in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The results of the referendum showed 2,001,926 voters had chosen to remain British, with 1,617,989 opted for independence.

'Remarkable number'

Sturgeon said: “I accept that last week the majority did not choose that future at this time, 1.6 million people is a remarkable number, but it wasn't enough.

“So my task will be to lead Scotland into an exciting new chapter in our national story."

To unite our nation around a common purpose so that we can write that story together, and do so in a way that lives up to the hopes, aspirations and expectations of a country that is, on both sides, engaged, inspired and empowered by the referendum experience."

Commenting on the increase in membership, the SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay, a member of the Scottish parliament, said: “What a contrast with the 'No' campaign parties in the last few days – we have overtaken the Lib Dems at UK level and Labour are in complete disarray in Scotland.”

He said that the Labour party support for the “No” campaign, which meant sharing a campaign objective with the Conservative party, would have an adverse effect on Labour.

"Labour voters simply won’t forget Johann Lamont’s alliance with the Tories in the 'No' campaign – which is exactly why the SNP is now sitting at 49 per cent in the polls," he said.

Sturgoen said she would hold the UK parties to the “vow” they made just days before the referendum vote, where the Westminster parties pledged more powers for Scotland if they voted to stay within the union.

Last Mod: 25 Eylül 2014, 10:20
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