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Thousands join pro-independence parties following referendum

SNP, Greens and SSP welcome more than 20,000 new members after Scotland rejects independence.

SNP website membership page on STV background September 22 2014

Pro-independence political parties in Scotland have seen their numbers swell following the referendum, figures have shown.

Thousands of people have signed up to the SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) since the country voted to remain in the Union.

The number of new SNP members saw the party grow by 63% in the 85 hours from Thursday at 5pm, and its membership numbers overtook the entire UK membership of the Liberal Democrats on Monday evening.

Shortly before 9pm on Monday, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell announced that the number of new members had reached 19,558, bringing the total membership to more than 44,000.

The Lib Dems registered a total of 43,451 members in 2013, meaning the SNP is now the third-largest party in the UK after the Conservatives and Labour.

At one point on Sunday, the amount of new membership applications caused the party's website servers to overload.

The Scottish Socialist Party have reported that they have added more than 1600 new members since the Thursday.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "The number of Labour supporters who have messaged me today to say they are now joining/supporting @theSNP is quite simply astounding.

"I am aware that some people are having difficulty with @theSNP website just now. Please bear with us & keep trying - demand is very high."

The party's business convener Derek 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."

Scottish Greens have also seen their numbers swell by more than 3000, pushing membership above 5000 for the first time.

The party's co-convener, Patrick Harvie MSP, 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."

It is understood that the SSP has also welcomed new members since the referendum. However, the party could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour - which backed a No vote - also said it had seen a boost in numbers since the referendum.

A spokeswoman said: "We don’t give out exact details on our membership figures but I can confirm that numbers have gone up since the referendum and those numbers are in the hundreds."

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