Scotland politics

Conservative MP David Mundell hails surge in pro-UK activism

David Mundell
Image caption Mr Mundell said the referendum caused an increase in political activity

Conservative MP David Mundell has said a surge in pro-UK activism has been the legacy of the Scottish independence referendum.

Mr Mundell, who is a Scotland Office minister in the coalition government, told Sunday Politics Scotland 80,000 people signed up for the Conservative Friends of the Union campaign.

The SNP has said more than 40,000 have joined its membership since the vote.

The party said it is a sign of people "putting their trust" in the SNP.

Mr Mundell said the in the BBC television interview: "The number that we've made available throughout the campaign is the 80,000 people who signed up to our Conservative Friends of the Union campaign.

"We were focussed, not so much on card-carrying members, as getting people active in politics and Ruth (Davidson) led that from the start.

"We've had people involved in Better Together, involved in their local communities. That's what we want to continue, we want to keep this group of people active in the political process in their own localities and hopefully nationally."

Membership

The SNP said on Sunday morning that its total membership had exceeded 66,000.

It said the total was up from about 25,000 before the independence referendum.

SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay said: "It is the latest warning sign for Labour who find themselves in an increasingly precarious position in Scotland after their referendum alliance with the Tories.

"It is clear from the surge in support we have seen that people across Scotland are putting their trust in the SNP to stand up for Scotland's interests - and to hold the Westminster parties to their vow of extensive new powers for Scotland."

The Scottish Green Party has reported its membership growing fourfold since the referendum.

A meeting of its Glasgow branch saw people queuing to get in.

Co-convener Patrick Harvie said: "Of the folk that we've met, not just at the Glasgow branch but other branches around the country, I think there is a real appetite and enthusiasm for getting involved.

"We don't know exactly what our membership will be in a year or two from now.

"We hope that it will continue to grow but it goes beyond just the raw numbers."

Gender quotas

Meanwhile, Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale has called for gender quotas to be guaranteed in the Scottish parliament.

In an article co-written with Green MSP Alison Johnstone, she said: "At the moment the power to bring in legal quotas in the Scottish Parliament is currently reserved to Westminster, under the provision on political parties in the Scotland Act 1998.

"As politicians discuss 'extensive new powers' for the Scottish Parliament, we would like to see the power to legislate for gender quotas devolved.

"We want every political party to support gender quotas in their manifestos for the 2016 Holyrood elections. And we want to see change by 2020."

The call for gender quotas has also been backed by SNP MSP Marco Biagi, Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes, Labour MSP Jackie Baillie and independent MSP Jean Urquhart.