The Scottish National Party (SNP) have overtaken UKIP as Britain’s fourth biggest political party after gaining 17,000 new members in less than a week. The party’s membership has soared from 25,642 at 5pm on Thursday to 42,336 today, this compares with a UKIP membership of 38,097.
UKIP has experienced a huge boost in membership since the European debates between Farage and Clegg. But this pales in comparison to the number of referendum ‘Yes’ voters that have joined the SNP.
The growth of the SNP will come as a disappointment to UKIP who had hoped to overtake the Liberal Democrats within the next few months. This would have put them as the third largest political party behind the Conservatives and Labour.
It is unclear whether the SNP surge has ended, but if it continues it will significantly delay UKIP gaining the accolade of the third biggest party. The Liberal Democrat membership has been dropping and UKIP’s has risen making it likely they will still overtake them. What is unclear is where the SNP’s membership will be at that point.
The SNP refused to specifically comment about overtaking UKIP but they did issue a statement from their business convenor Derek Mackay MSP. He 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.
“As Labour meets in Manchester, their position in Scotland grows more and more precarious. With nearly 17,000 new members joining the SNP – and Labour’s heartlands voting Yes in the referendum – the Labour leadership will be increasingly worried. Ordinary Labour voters simply won’t forget Johann Lamont’s alliance with the Tories in the No campaign.”
UKIPs membership is £30 a year, compared to just £12 a year for the SNP. Although Farage’s party only have 38,000 members, officials confirmed there are around a thousand membership applications waiting to be processed.
UPDATE: There are reports that the SNP has now overtaken the Liberal Democrats as the UKs third largest political party.