The SNP is ending a historic year on a high with a record 20,139 people now registered card carrying members.
The final membership figures for 2011 show numbers have increased by an astonishing 3907 over the last 12 months, with 2000 joining since May’s election.
Members across the country have now been set the challenge of doubling membership from 18,000 in May to 36,000 by the time of the referendum on Independence.
The SNP has now doubled the number of members it has since 2003 and increased by over 6,000 since 2007. It is the only major party in Scotland whose membership has grown continuously over this period and is now the largest party in Scotland.
SNP Business Convener Derek MacKay said he was confident the SNP could build a strong grassroots membership movement to take Scotland Forward.
“In May this year over 900,000 people across Scotland voted for the SNP and since then we have seen membership continue to build, making the SNP Scotland’s largest political party.
“The SNP now has a record 20,000 party members . That is an astonishing increase of nearly 4000 members in one year and a sign of the phenomenal support the people of Scotland have given the SNP this year.
“And we are on course to meet the target set this October of doubling party membership in the run up to the referendum on Scotland’s Independence.
“From Selkirk to Shetland the SNP is Scotland’s party and we welcome anyone who wants to see the best for Scotland and who wants to play their part in taking Scotland forward.
“At a time when Labour is hiding the detail of their leadership elections to keep their falling number of members secret the contrast with an SNP that is winning increasing support from people who share our ambitions for Scotland is stark.”
In 2003 party membership stood at just under 9,500. That grew steadily until 2007 when the party won its first Scottish election and membership hit 14,000. In the last four years the numbers have continued to grow and today membership of the SNP is 20,139.
The party’s main rivals, Labour, refuse to publish figures for the recent Scottish leadership election which would indicate membership numbers. Some observers believe that Labour in Scotland is hiding a decline in its own membership north of the border.