THE SNP have welcomed the 12,500 extra members who signed up to the party this month.

The party’s campaign director and depute leader Keith Brown said it is anticipated that the SNP will gain thousands more before the end of March – and expects its total number of new members to match Scottish Labour’s overall membership of 16,467.

The figure is four times the Scottish LibDem membership, while it is not known what the Scottish Tory figures stand at.

The National:

Brown also announced that the National Executive Committee has agreed to hold a summer conference later in the year.

The MSP believes his party is “fighting fit” as it heads into the upcoming Scottish Parliament campaign.

This weekend the SNP is asking members to share a Bairns not Bombs digital campaign leaflet, highlighting the different priorities between Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson’s governments.

It comes after Johnson confirmed the UK would lift the cap on its nuclear stockpile.

The National:

Brown commented: “The fact we’ve had 12,500 new members sign up this month is a massive boost as the election nears.

“Our new members' input at the summer conference - that NEC has confirmed today - will be invaluable as we drive the case for independence forwards.

"At the coming election, the SNP offers a safe, steady, and experienced hand to steer Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.”

He went on: “Boris Johnson and his Tory cronies don’t care about Scotland. Their priorities are all wrong.

“While they are wasting hundreds of billions of our money on more nuclear weapons, we are focused on giving Scotland’s young people the best start.

“With the baby box, the child payment, more free hours of childcare, free school meals and no tuition fees it is clear to see the SNP's priorities are bairns, not bombs.”

READ MORE: How SNP insiders reacted to a turbulent week for the party

The announcement of a summer conference comes at the end of a turbulent week for the party.

Leaked parts of a committee report into the Scottish Government’s botched investigation into complaints against Alex Salmond showed MSPs concluded that Sturgeon misled them in her written evidence over a meeting with her predecessor.

However, it has been reported that the members of the inquiry did not agree to use the word “knowingly”.

Yesterday afternoon the SNP members of the inquiry branded the leak “disgraceful and wrong”.

READ MORE: SNP members of Salmond inquiry brand Nicola Sturgeon leak ‘disgraceful and wrong’

Stuart McMillan, Alasdair Allan and Maureen Watt signed a statement which said: “This committee was meant to carry out a dispassionate search for the truth.

“But, at the very last minute, without full consideration of the evidence, the opposition railroaded through their prejudged assertions based purely on political considerations.

“For the opposition, this was never about the truth. It was never about the evidence and, shamefully, it was never even about the women. All of these are being sacrificed in pursuit of political ends.

“This is the politics of desperation by the opposition members.”

In a statement, the First Minister’s spokesman said the committee’s claims were not supported by a shred of evidence.

“Sadly, she is not the first woman let down by a man she once trusted to face that charge, and regrettably she is unlikely to be the last,” he said.

“On this, the committee appears to have resorted to baseless assertion, supposition and smear – that is not how serious parliamentary committees are supposed to work, and in behaving this way they are simply exposing their base political motives.”