THE Scottish Conservatives have refused to publish their membership numbers.

The party stonewalled a follow-up request to detail how many people it has on its mailing list after Nicola Sturgeon challenged Douglas Ross to reveal the figure at her last FMQs on Thursday.

The Scottish Tory leader asked about the resignation of the SNP’s former director of communications at Holyrood, Murray Foote, which came amid claims that the party’s HQ had briefed him incorrect information about membership numbers.

Ross repeatedly accused the SNP of having “lied” about the issue, even after he was warned about using the word by the parliament’s presiding officer.

In response, Sturgeon said: “The issue of SNP members has been well canvassed over the past few days. I have nothing to add to what I have already said, except this: the SNP remains the only mass membership party in this country.

“We have, by far, more members than any other party represented in the chamber, and I think that I can say with some confidence that the SNP has more members than all other parties in the chamber have combined.

“However, I cannot say that with absolute certainty, so let me say, finally, to Douglas Ross that, if he wants a conversation, a debate or an interaction about party membership figures, it surely should be a meaningful one in which we can compare and contrast. Therefore, before we go any further, will Douglas Ross share with the chamber how many members his party has?”

Sturgeon later repeated the request, saying: “Perhaps Douglas Ross will answer the question that I posed, on which we are still waiting for an answer: how many members does the Scottish Conservative Party have? Surely he knows. Tell us.”

Ross did not respond in the chamber, and his party have since refused to respond to requests put in with their press team.

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It is hard to find any membership data for the Scottish Tories, which is part of the larger UK Conservative Party.

In 2020, the Scots wing had two leaders. The first of these, Jackson Carlaw, was elected in February. He beat Michelle Ballantyne in a vote of party members by 4917 votes to 1581, meaning the Scots Tories had at least 6500 members at that point. They did not publish official figures during the contest.

Later in 2020, Carlaw was ousted and Ross ran unopposed to become the Scottish Tory leader, meaning the membership was not given a vote.

In 2011, when Ruth Davidson was elected leader, around 5600 Scottish Tory members voted. The following year, Davidson claimed this number had jumped by 2000.

According to the House of Commons library, the UK-wide Conservative Party had around 172,000 members in September 2022.

The SNP, according to membership figures published during the leadership election, has around 72,000 members. This is down from around 103,000 in December 2021.