Nigel Farage has been accused of resorting to xenophobic fear tactics after unveiling what Nicola Sturgeon branded a "disgusting" Brexit poster, showing a huge queue of non-white migrants on the borders of the European Union.

Politicians from across the political spectrum joined forces to condemn the campaign tactic, which they said exploited the misery of the Syrian refugee crisis in the "most dishonest and immoral way".

But the Ukip leader brushed aside suggestions the poster was racist and insisted very few people who came into Europe last year would qualify as genuine refugees.

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Read more: Nicola Sturgeon brands Ukip Leave campaign's Breaking Point poster 'disgusting'

However, Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party MPs attacked Mr Farage for resorting to "small-minded fear tactics".

The First Minister claimed the poster, which showed people crossing between Croatia and Slovenia to a refugee camp, under a warning that the EU was at "breaking point", was "disgusting".

Labour's Yvette Cooper said: "Just when you thought Leave campaigners couldn't stoop any lower, they are now exploiting the misery of the Syrian refugee crisis in the most dishonest and immoral way.

HeraldScotland:

"Europe didn't cause the Syrian refugee crisis and pulling out of the EU won't stop people fleeing conflict and persecution by Isis and the Assad regime."

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: "Using the innocent victims of a human tragedy for political propaganda is utterly disgusting. Farage is engaging in the politics of the gutter.

"The refugee crisis has not been caused by the EU. It is a common challenge that all countries must deal with effectively and humanely - and that is far more possible inside the EU than out," she added.

Read more: How an English majority to leave EU could be over-ridden by pro-Remain vote of other home nations

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake said: "It's a shame that instead of engaging on the issues, Farage and his cronies have resorted to small-minded fear tactics and xenophobia."

Conservative MP Neil Carmichael said: "Distasteful propaganda like this can only make our immigration challenges worse, not better, and damage community cohesion in Britain."

Mr Farage launched the poster with a battle-bus tour through Westminster, followed by 10 vans plastered with the image.

He claimed so-called Islamic State was exploiting the migrant crisis to flood the continent with terrorists.

HeraldScotland:

"This is a photograph, an accurate, un-doctored photograph, taken on October 15 last year following Angela Merkel's call in the summer and, frankly, if you believe, as I have always believed, that we should open our hearts to genuine refugees, that's one thing.

"But, frankly, as you can see from this picture, most of the people coming are young males and, yes, they may be coming from countries that are not in a very happy state, they may be coming from places that are poorer than us, but the EU has made a fundamental error that risks the security of everybody," declared the Ukip leader.

When it was pointed out the people in the posters were refugees, Mr Farage replied: "You don't know that; they are coming from all over the world. If you get back to the Geneva Convention definition, you will find very few people that came into Europe last year would actually qualify as genuine refugees."

Read more: Focus on EU membership as key to resolving immigration issues misplaced

He added: "When IS say they will use the migrant crisis to flood the continent with their jihadi terrorists, they probably mean it."

Other developments in the campaign included:

*Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President, said he believed Britain would be "best advised not to" vote to leave the Brussels bloc but insisted the EU would not die in the event of Brexit;

*Jeremy Corbyn, speaking in Yorkshire, said many Labour voters were backing Brexit because they did “not understand the relationship with the EU and haven't appreciated the amount of investment that's come into many parts of this country - to this region, to Cornwall and Scotland”;

*Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accused the Leave campaign of "distorting facts" over Britain's EU membership as he claimed a vote to Remain would pave the way for the UK to take a "leadership role" in the 28-nation bloc and

*Boris Johnson dismissed suggestions he should, post a Brexit vote, become prime minister after being hailed by one supporter for having the "balls" to run the country should Britain leave the EU.