A LOYALIST protester at the centre of a row over an alleged attack during a pro-independence rally is a former UKIP activist who caused a racism storm after he was photographed 'blacking up'.

Jack Neill, who stood for the party in Gordon Brown's old seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath in the 2015 general election, was chased up George Square at the weekend before having his Union flag snatched which he had been flying from a mobile pole.

HeraldScotland:

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Police are investigating an alleged assault, which happened as Ollie Marshall, another former UKIP activist and Mr Neill claimed they were subjected to a volley of abuse objecting to their flying of the flag.

The incidents came as they stood near Queen Street station in a counter-demo on the fringes of the George Square Hope Over Fear event to commemorate the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Mr Neill has denied online accusations that he and his colleague were "looking for trouble" with the weekend's controversial counter-demo near Queen Street station, while it emerged he was at the centre of another row last year when pictures showed him with his face blacked up and wearing a clown nose and curly wig.

HeraldScotland:

The University of the West of Scotland criminal justice student explained the personal snaps, some of which were posted on his Facebook page, were "a joke" and "purely for entertainment purposes for my friends" and said it was a skincare face mask. He said he regretted publishing the pictures which were condemned by race equality campaigners.

Mr Neill who denied allegations of racism, was given a key role when former UKIP leader Nigel Farage and the party's ex-Scottish leader David Coburn launched the party's Holyrood manifesto at an Edinburgh hotel in April, 2016.

He said of his protest: "I maintain that I did not go there to look for trouble or incite violence, as is being suggested."