A NEW movement aimed at securing the election of a raft of socialist MSPs at Holyrood in 2016 has been launched in response to the surge in support for the Left in the referendum.

The Scottish Left Project (SLP), which is backed by former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars, will target parliament's list system, which can see MSPs elected with as little as 6% of the vote.

The founders stressed they were not a new party. Instead, the aim is a grassroots forum for left-wing ideas and talent, although it may be the precursor to a party or electoral pact.

The organisers also said that Sillars, a former MP, had ruled out standing in 2016.

Other founders of the Scottish Left Project include Independent MSP John Wilson, who last month quit the SNP over its backing for Nato, and Jonathan Shafi and Cat Boyd, co-founders of the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC).

It also emerged yesterday that RIC has moved its annual conference to a bigger venue after being overwhelmed by demand for places.

The activists' umbrella group will meet on November 22 at the 3000-seat Clyde Auditorium at Glasgow's SECC, which was last week used by the LibDems for their UK annual conference. More than 2500 tickets have already been sold and RIC expects a sell-out crowd.

The Scottish Left Project said the Yes movement had been "one of the most important political forces in these islands" and its dreams should not be abandoned.

It said it wanted a return to "the principles of radical social change: participatory democracy, democratic public ownership, the redistribution of wealth and power from the rich to the poor and full independence from the British state and its monarch."

The SLP cited Spain's Podemos as an inspiration. The left-wing party won 8% of the vote in Spain in May's European poll - despite being just four months old - and has five of the country's 54 MEPs.

Declaring its goal to be "the best possible socialist challenge at the Holyrood elections in 2016", the SLP went on: "The long-term aim... is to change the face of Scottish politics.

"The Labour party has betrayed us for too long. We need a strategy to replace them for good in the communities they claim to represent.

"Scotland needs a new citizens' politics. The days of a professional political class running our lives are numbered. Hundreds of thousands of citizens in Scotland want change and their voices must be heard."

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "The only way to stop the Tories is to vote Labour, yet both Jim Sillars and John Wilson have spent most of their political careers dividing the Left and campaigning against Labour."

Tory chief whip John Lamont said: "It seems this group are falling victim to petty in-fighting before they are even off the ground."