Party membership soars as biggest ever SNP conference starts in Glasgow

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The SNP’s biggest ever Spring Conference opens in Glasgow today, as figures show party membership has soared with a 12 per cent increase since the New Year.

The SNP leader Alex Salmond is expected to tell delegates that “Home Rule with independence beats Tory rule from Westminster any day”.

The First Minister will also use this year’s speech to launch the SNP’s local government election campaign with Glasgow being one of the key areas the party hope to challenge Labour.

The Party have made huge progress since their last Spring Conference – also held in Glasgow – one year ago.

The SNP went into their 2011 Spring Conference with poll ratings 15 per cent behind Labour yet went on to win the Scottish Parliament elections, winning an extra 22 seats and gaining a historic and unprecedented overall majority. 

In Glasgow itself, historically a Labour stronghold, the Holyrood election saw the SNP become the largest party – winning seven seats compared to Labour’s six.  SNP supporter’s will be hoping for a similar result in the local elections on May 3rd.

Speaking in advance of the SNP Conference, being held in the SECC – with around 2,000 delegates, members, exhibitors, observers and media expected over the weekend – the SNP’s Business Convener, Derek Mackay MSP, said:

“We go into this year’s conference in upbeat mood as party members from across Scotland gather in Glasgow – making it our biggest ever Spring conference – estimated to bring an economic boost to the city economy of over £1 million.

“We also gather as our party membership continues to rise – with nearly 2,400 new members since the New Year – a 12 per cent increase.  

“Last year in Glasgow we were preparing for what became a historic result in May with the election of the first ever majority SNP Government.

“We won last year’s elections, we are working hard to win this years local government elections for the people of Scotland and we are working to win the referendum for Scotland’s future.”

Mr Mackay said that whilst the party were doing everything it could to build the recovery, independence would allow much more to be done.

Listing the steps the Scottish Government had taken including prioritising capital projects such as new schools and hospitals, helping businesses with a Scottish Investment bank and freezing the council tax he added:

“The SNP Scottish Government is doing everything possible within current powers to build for recovery, … However with the powers of independence we could do much more – as will be outlined this weekend.”

 

See a conference podcast with BBC Scotland’s Brian Taylor interviewing SNP Depute leader Nicola Sturgeon: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-17302094

A live video stream of the conference can be viewed here: http://www.snp.org/media-centre