UKIP Targets Scottish Breakthrough

Ukip is poised to make its breakthrough in Scotland at the European election later this month, according to the party's lead candidate.


Businessman David Coburn said he can take enough votes away from the Tories while mopping up votes from disappointed former Labour supporters.

Success at the May 22 election would stun mainstream political parties in Scotland, where First Minister Alex Salmond previously dismissed Ukip leader Nigel Farage as someone outside "normal politics''.

Mr Farage is expected to be in Edinburgh tonight to back Mr Coburn's European campaign - almost exactly a year since the leader had to be rescued by police from a group of rowdy protesters in the Scottish capital.

He is likely to face further protest today. The Radical Independence group, supported by other left-wing groups, has been advertising coach seats to take people from Glasgow to a rally in Edinburgh.

Mr Coburn said people in Scotland are tired of the usual suspects in politics.

"We have an extremely good chance of getting that seat. We appeal to the Tory and Labour voter,'' he said.

"We have had massive support from disappointed Labour voters - they don't think the party speaks for them. Ed Miliband is a middle-class man who doesn't represent them. He's never done a day's work in his life.

"We are not going to take just the middle-class vote, we're going for the working-class vote too.

"People want a party that says no to socialism, that supports ambition for their children, who want a good education system.

"I'm sure we'll win. Our chances of taking a seat are extremely good.''

Ukip won a tiny 0.91% of the vote across Scottish regions in the 2011 Holyrood election.

At the time, the party pledged to replace MSPs with Scottish Westminster MPs.

But polls from last month suggest a level of support around 10% for the European election, giving the party a chance of victory.

Mr Coburn also predicts seats in Scotland at the next Westminster general election.

"It will completely change the narrative,'' he said.

"People in Scotland realise there is an alternative to the usual suspects.''

Looking to the Scottish independence referendum in September, Mr Coburn said: "We can give a lot more impetus to support for the union than the other Better Together parties.''

Last May, during a Holyrood by-election campaign, staff were forced to clear the Canons' Gait pub on the Royal Mile as people yelled "racist Nazi scum'' at Mr Farage, who was trying to host a press conference.

He attempted to escape by taxi but protesters blocked its path, forcing him back to the pub where police barricaded him inside until a riot van arrived.

Afterwards, the First Minister said Mr Farage is "someone who is outwith the context of normal politics''.

Mr Salmond added: "We can frankly do without Ukip, who dislike everybody and know absolutely nothing about Scotland.''

The SNP has two MEPs and hopes to add a third. Labour has two seats and the Tories and Liberal Democrats have one each.

A dip in fortunes for the Lib Dems means one seat could change hands at their expense.

The Scottish Green Party also hopes to benefit and send its first MEP to Brussels.