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UKIP targets Scottish seats in 2014 and 2016 polls

UKIP expects to win seats at Holyrood in the next Scottish elections, according to the party's leader.

The eurosceptic party also expects to send Scottish MEPs to the European Parliament in 2014, Nigel Farage said.

In an interview with Holyrood magazine, Mr Farage said his party was in the process of selecting Scottish candidates for Europe and the Scottish Parliament, with the next elections for the latter to be held in 2016.

He said that while in the past Ukip has found it difficult to make political headway north of the border, the current debate surrounding both an independent Scotland's place in the EU and Prime Minister David Cameron's proposed Europe referendum will make a difference.

"The SNP argument of Scottish independence trumps any argument about Europe and frankly, the Scots haven't had a European debate because they are having their own argument about their relationship with the UK and that has meant in electoral terms up until now, Scotland has been a graveyard for us, but that is all changing now, thanks to Mr Barroso (Jose Manuel Barroso, the EC president).

"Yes, we would now expect to get Ukip MSPs and also as European representatives."

He continued: "We have established as a party that we are not against devolved powers but discussing the relationship between Holyrood and Westminster is, frankly, irrelevant when half our law is made across the sea anyway.

"I admire (First Minister Alex) Salmond in many ways but my problem with him has always been this independence thing within the EU, which is rubbish."

Mr Farage, who is against Scottish independence, went on to describe the SNP stance that an independent Scotland would continue in the EU as "a logical inconsistency".

Meanwhile, he argued that Scotland was seen as "a soft touch" by other EU member states.

"People say that the Scots are all in favour of the EU as if it's some proven truth but it's rubbish," he added.

At the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2011, Ukip's policies included replacing MSPs with Scottish Westminster MPs, repealing climate change laws and halting proposed wind farm projects, and scrapping the smoking ban.

An SNP spokesperson said: "We have heard this all before from Ukip - and only today a poll showed that 61% of people want Scotland to be in the EU.

"While Ukip is dictating the terms of the European debate south of the border - with the Tories threatening to isolate Scotland from the EU and the single market of half-a-billion people - Mr Farage and his colleagues have never moved beyond the far fringes of Scottish politics.

"While they are getting record poll ratings south of the border, in Scotland Ukip barely register.

"Scotland is a European nation, and our position in the EU should not be determined by politicians at Westminster looking over their shoulder in electoral fear."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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