A NEW grassroots social media movement has said it will take up the mantle of the Yes campaign in a renewed pursuit of Scottish independence.

The group, which currently badges itself as the 45%, says it speaks for the 1.6 million Yes voters who lost out on last Thursday's referendum.

In the last few days, it has amassed more than 150,000 likes on Facebook with the campaign trending on Twitter.

The movement is hoping to capitalise on the swelling interest in grassroots political activism which swept across Scotland in the last few months.

The blue Yes logo that became ubiquitous on Twitter and Facebook profile pictures in recent weeks has now been replaced by a similarly designed 45 sticker.

Glasgow University's Phillips O'Brien, an expert on party politics, believes the credibility of the 45 movement will be measured by its longevity. He said: "What is happening now is not as important as what will happen in a year or so.

"At the moment there are a lot of angry people out there who say they are committed to being an activist.

"But whether that is still the case by the time of the next General Election is unclear.

"It's certainly not impossible though, and I think it will be fascinating to see how this campaign progresses."

The referendum has sparked a massive uptake in political party membership.

The SNP has welcomed more than 5,000 new members while the Scottish Green Party's contingent has more than doubled since the polls closed.

Mr O'Brien added: "The fact that thousands have joined up to political parties is also very interesting.

"Political party membership has been in decline for decades and over the last few days we have seen huge numbers of people joining up.

"What I think is important now is for the likes of Labour to try and win these people back.

"I feel there a lot of voters out there who typically side with Labour on social issues but who were backing independence.

"The real test for this campaign, and for Labour as well, will be the next General Election." Although just days after its inception, the 45 movement is already considering a name change to something "more inclusive" after it was claimed it was responsible for nurturing a divisive mentality.

Some supporters have suggested its cause may not be helped by sporadic anti-Unionist comments such as one post thatclaimed No voters could no longer call themselves Scottish. Many members have also been caustic in their response to recent loyalist celebrations, and their interpretation of bias within the media.

Thousands have also backed an online petition calling for a recount of Thursday's vote — with 85,000 signatories in just a few days. However, a message on the group's Facebook has called for a rational discussion, including the acceptance of opposing arguments.

It also encouraged "45ers" to shun political violence and avoid confrontation with Unionist groups, in response to ugly scenes at George Square over the weekend.

A spokesman for the Scottish Green Party said he was encouraged by the increased interest in the political process but called for a greater unity in Scotland.

He said: "We encourage constructive activism at all levels but now is the time to reach out and move on in the best interests of the country.

"We have always said Scotland will be what we make of it and what we don't want is divisions among the people."