ALEX Salmond has called on voters to stop Ukip "in their tracks" tomorrow and keep them out of Scottish politics, branding the anti-EU party insular, intolerant and nasty.
The First Minister rounded on Nigel Farage's party over its criticism that he had visited a mosque for sectarian electoral purposes, pointing out how on the same day he had also met church leaders from all of the Christian denominations.
David Coburn, who hopes to become Ukip's first elected representative in Scotland by winning a seat in Thursday's Euro poll, said: "What's more sectarian than popping off down the mosque and telling everyone they should be voting for (the SNP)?"
Loading article content
He added: "Most of the Asian shopkeepers I know of in Glasgow and Asian businessmen are voting for Ukip."
But Mr Salmond responded: "Attacking a visit to a mosque illustrates perfectly why it is so important that we stop Ukip in their tracks; we have that opportunity in Scotland on Thursday."
The FM insisted that the diversity of modern Scotland was a strength and a source of enrichment to the whole of society.
"That is the progressive politics of the SNP and of Scotland. It is something to be celebrated - as we do across the political spectrum in Scotland - and is the antithesis of the backward-looking, insular and intolerant politics of Ukip."
Mr Salmond stressed how there was massive opposition to Ukip in Scotland and it was important to keep them out of Scottish politics.
"The arithmetic of the polls is very clear that Scotland's sixth seat is a straight choice between the SNP and Ukip. Voting SNP on Thursday to elect Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh - including people who do not usually vote SNP -- is the sure fire way to stop Ukip getting a foothold in Scotland and denying them a platform to peddle their nasty politics."
Meantime, senior Liberal Democrats warned the SNP and Ukip were presenting a "false choice" to Scottish voters.
Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "Although very different parties, their plans to pull us out of the UK and wrench us out of the EU would have exactly the same damaging effect on Scotland and our economy. Both believe in narrow-minded nationalism and both are bringing our relationship with Europe to the brink."
The party's lead Euro poll candidate George Lyon MEP added: "The choice isn't between the SNP and Ukip. The choice is between growth and stagnation, between investment and isolation, between opportunity and uncertainty. Being in Britain and in Europe means keeping Scots in work."