• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Salmond in call to fight Ukip 'intolerance' at the ballot box

ALEX Salmond has called on Scots to stand up to Ukip's "politics of intolerance" at the ballot box during next week's European Parliament elections.

CAMPAigner: Alex Salmond meets members of Glasgow's Asian community on the European election campaign trail. Picture: Jamie Simpson
CAMPAigner: Alex Salmond meets members of Glasgow's Asian community on the European election campaign trail. Picture: Jamie Simpson

The First Minister's comments came as Eurosceptic Ukip faced further accusations of racism and sexism.

The party's leader Nigel Farage was criticised after he appeared to suggest he would disapprove of his German-born wife speaking her native language on a train.

Prime Minister David Cameron later described the remarks as "particularly unpleasant".

In Scotland, Ukip came under fire after one of its candidates addressed a female political opponent as "love" in a radio debate.

The SNP says it is in a direct fight with Ukip for the last of Scotland's six European Parliament seats, although other parties, including the Scottish Greens say they could take the final spot.

Mr Salmond accused Ukip of trying to stir up "anti-immigration rhetoric". Meeting senior members of Glasgow's Asian community, the SNP leader said: "Our diversity is our great strength and there is no better example of that than the Scots Asian community which has thrived … and helped to shape our country for the better.

"The anti-immigrant message being peddled by Ukip is one that leaves people in Scotland feeling deeply uncomfortable.

"We pride ourselves on being a welcoming, tolerant country and Ukip's brand of nasty intolerance has no place here."

Ukip has traditionally struggled in Scotland and last year Mr Farage had to be locked in a Royal Mile pub for his own safety after protests at him campaigning here.

But opinion polls last month suggest the party is gaining support in Scotland in the run-up to the May 22 elections, and could take 10% of the vote, compared with the Greens' high of 6%.

That suggests Ukip could be within touching distance of taking a Scottish seat in the elections, which use the proportional representation voting system.

The SNP for its part has insisted it is confident it will increase its tally of MEPs from two to three, after the collapse of Liberal Democrat support. In the last European Parliament elections in 2009, SNP and Labour took two Scottish seats each. The Conservatives and LibDems took one each.

Yesterday the LibDem chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander accused both Ukip and the SNP of offering a "narrow-minded nationalism" as he urged voters to reject both.

Neither party could say with certainty "what life would be like after either independence or the UK leaving the EU", he said.

SNP MP Pete Wishart rounded on Ukip's David Coburn for calling Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the third candidate on the SNP's list, "love" and "my dear" in a discussion on BBC Scotland's Brian Taylor's Big Debate. He also described the SNP as a "bunch of fascists" .

Mr Wishart said: "This type of inappropriate language lowers the tone of the debate."

Earlier, Mr Farage was repeatedly challenged over recent comments that he felt "uncomfortable" hearing so many foreign languages on London trains.

Asked about his wife Kirsten, who is a native German speaker, Mr Farage replied: "I don't suppose she speaks [German] on the train."

The comments came as Mr Farage defended his party after accusations it is racist.

"All anyone wants to talk about is the idiots in Ukip," Mr Farage said. "Wherever we have found people who have had extreme, racist, unpleasant views we have unceremoniously got rid of them."

He also defended his comments that he would not want to live next to a group of Romanian men.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

234071