THE Alba Party’s first ever conference has sold out in under 48 hours of registrations opening for the event.

Party bosses are now looking to secure extra capacity at the gathering at Greenock Town Hall if social distancing measures allow.

The interest in the party’s conference is the latest step on the fast rise of the party since May’s Scottish Parliament elections. On Friday of last week the party welcomed its 6000th member to the fold with veteran SNP campaigner Moira Brown. 

The Alba Party now has its sights set on overtaking the Scottish Greens in membership size by its inaugural conference, which would make the independence supporting party the third largest political party in Scotland and the fastest growing in Europe. It is expected soon that Alba officials will confirm increased capacity for the event.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond accepts nomination to continue as Alba Party leader

Alba’s interim general secretary Chris McEleny said: “It was a phenomenal achievement to reach 6000 members on Friday. I cannot think of another example the world over of a new political party growing to such a size in such a short period of time – before it’s even held its first ever conference. We are without doubt the fastest growing political party in Europe.

“Alba continues to rise because of the urgency in which we are demanding Scotland’s independence is progressed.

“I am confident we will be able to secure access to more delegates which will allow hundreds of more Alba members to attend our inaugural conference.”

Meanwhile, Alex Salmond has accepted a nomination to carry on as leader of Alba. The former first minister said he was “proud” to lead the party as he outlined ambitious plans to establish the group as the third force in Scottish politics.

Ahead of Alba’s inaugural conference in September, Salmond hailed the party as the fastest-growing in Europe.

He told the Sunday Mail: “Alba is on the move and I am proud to accept the nomination to be the first-ever elected leader of this emerging party. We are heading for bronze medal position behind the SNP and Labour in Scottish politics.

“The difference is that Alba are now Europe’s fastest growing political party, and on the way up, while they are on the way down.”

The former SNP leader set up the party in the lead up to May’s Holyrood election.

Two MPs and several councillors defected from the SNP to Alba, but the party failed to win any seats in the Scottish Parliament election.

Salmond had hoped to help secure a pro-independence “supermajority”, but his party won just 1.7% of the regional vote.

READ MORE: Alba: Alex Salmond's party welcomes 65-year SNP veteran as 6000th member

But the party welcomed its 6000th member last week. SNP activist Brown, who spent 65 years in the SNP, signed up for Alba saying she wanted faster progress to independence. Salmond presented Brown with a Scotland football strip with the number 6000 as he made a surprise visit to her home.

Salmond said: “Moira Brown, with her 65 years of experience in the SNP, will be a great asset to the burgeoning ranks of Alba.

“We are proud to welcome her as member number 6000.

“People like Moira are the heart and soul of the independence movement.

“She has seen it grow from a tiny acorn to a mighty oak and now wants to see the realisation of her lifelong political dream.”