Nigel Farage Hits Holyrood Campaign Trail

It is four weeks until the Scottish election, but with another major vote looming just seven weeks later, Holyrood's leaders will be joined by some lesser seen politicians on the campaign trail.

Nigel Farage proclaimed that Ukip are the "independence party in Scotland'' as he launched their manifesto for the Holyrood election.

The Ukip leader urged Scots to vote for his party on May 5 to "get some people elected who are not content to go along with the PC flow''.

Ukip made its electoral breakthrough in Scotland in 2014 when David Coburn was elected as an MEP.

Mr Coburn is one of 26 candidates the party is putting forward on the regional list section of the Holyrood ballot, with Scottish regional organiser Kevin Newton stating they could win "perhaps half a dozen'' MSPs in May.

Launching the manifesto in Edinburgh, Mr Farage said his party were now aiming to "make a breakthrough into the Scottish Parliament, get some people elected who are not content to go along with the PC flow, who are happy to provide a voice of opposition, who are unafraid to stand up and be controversial by going against the direction the mainstream is currently going in''.

With Holyrood gaining powers over income tax from April 2017, Ukip's manifesto contained a pledge to bring in an intermediate rate of 30p which would be applied to those earning between £45,300 and £55,000.

The higher rate charge of 40p would only apply to those individuals earning more than this under Ukip plans.

The manifesto also promises to lower business rates in Scotland in a bid to help companies grow and to help the pub trade it plans to increase the drink-drive limit in Scotland and bring it back in line with the rest of the UK.

Ukip also proposes pubs and clubs could have smoking rooms "if they so wish'' which would have to be "properly ventilated''.

The party says it would repeal the controversial named person system that is being brought in by the current Scottish Government and it would also repeal the legislation that brought in licensing for air weapons and "replace it with less draconian legislation''.

The manifesto promises to "end political correctness in schools'' and says Ukip would "introduce a specific Act aimed at banning damaging political propaganda being passed off as fact''.

As the party is wary of what is describes as "independence by accident'', it says it will "draw a red line at the transfer of further powers from Westminster''.

Mr Farage argued that leaving the European Union (EU) would give MSPs control over key areas such as fishing and agriculture, which are currently governed by Brussels.

He said: "There is a huge mythology about attitudes in Scotland, the view that is put out by Nicola Sturgeon you would think everybody in Scotland thought the European Union was wonderful, that issues like open-door immigration are a non-political issue in Scotland and I think our job in Ukip is to blow apart those arguments.

"The fact is when you look at social attitude surveys you find on issues like immigration the way the majority of Scots feel is desperately close to the way the majority of English people feel.''

Mr Farage criticised the SNP, saying: "I couldn't look at myself in the shaving mirror and call myself a nationalist if I wanted Scotland to be governed from Brussels, it doesn't make any sense.''

He insisted: "There is only one independence party in British politics, there is only one independence party in Scottish politics. What we are fighting for is to get some voices in Holyrood.

"Ironically we are the only party fighting for Scotland to have more devolved issues, because it is only by leaving the European Union that Holyrood will take control of Scottish fishing and Scottish agriculture, being perhaps the first two clearest examples.

"So we are the independence party in Scotland. If you believe in an independent United Kingdom where Scotland has growing autonomous powers, if you believe in the independence of the individual from an over-wieldy state, then put people like Coburn in Holyrood.''

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