NICOLA Sturgeon’s successor will be determined by SNP members - but how many are there?

With three candidates now in the running to be the next first minister, Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan have begun to set out their pitch to the membership.

Following the 2014 independence referendum, the SNP saw a boost to its membership, despite a No win.

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It is understood that following the independence ballot, the SNP membership more than doubled from 25,642 before the vote, to 52,034 afterwards. At the time, the party claimed this meant they outstripped the LibDems and had become the third biggest party in the UK.

The SNP membership numbers hit a peak of 125,691 at the end of 2019, but saw numbers decrease during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent cost of living crisis.

As of December 2021, the party said there were 103,884 members.

At the last council election in 2022, The National asked Sturgeon on the campaign trail how many members the party had, to which she said “around 100,000”.

However, in recent weeks the party had to dispute claims that 30,000 members left the party over the Scottish Government’s gender reform bill.

They claimed the reports were “wholly inaccurate”. A spokesperson said at the time: “The 30,000 figure that was reported is not just flat wrong, it’s wrong by about 30,000.

"As the SNP clearly stated when asked, fewer than 300 members have left the party over the period and they have been replaced by the same number of new members.

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"This story is both malicious and wholly inaccurate. Fortunately, few people are gullible enough to believe it.”

Additionally, leadership contender Regan called for members who allegedly left over gender reforms in the past year to be readmitted to allow them to vote in the contest. Regan quit her ministerial role in protest at the reforms at stage 3.

Deputy FM John Swinney said the bid would be “preposterous”, adding: “It would be an absolutely ludicrous proposition that you open your membership lists when you’ve got a major vacancy of this type.”