UKIP's controversial Scottish chairman is being lined up for a tilt at Holyrood next year - but party members north of the border have urged Farage loyalists to block the move amid fears that he is “not credible”.

Arthur Misty Thackeray, who is also the taxpayer-funded chief of staff for the party’s Euro MP David Coburn, is believed to be the favourite to top the Glasgow regional list.

UKIP Scotland’s democratic decision-making functions were suspended by the London-based party hierarchy in 2013 during a period of infighting and a small committee of branch chairman was put in charge.

It is understood “special measures” remain in place and a cabal close to Coburn and Thackeray could have the power to parachute in Scottish Parliament candidates of their choice.

Some party members are concerned that Thackeray may be placed at the top of the list in Glasgow and become an MSP before going on to further damage UKIP’s fragile reputation north of the border.

The would-be politician achieved notoriety for a series of offensive Facebook posts, including a now infamous barb at Glasgow City Council which he claimed was for “Gays, Catholics [and] Communists”.

The party's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) section later urged Mr Thackeray to “reconsider his role and membership within UKIP”.

Thackeray also said Catholicism was based on “fascist ideology” and complained of a “suffocating culture of anti-loyalism” in Scotland's largest city. 

He has also turned his attention to Islam, writing on Facebook: “You have to witness a Glasgow election count night to understand the extent of Islamist influence within the SNP and Labour…last time out I thought we were contesting a seat in Pakistan.”

He has even boasted about taking part in demonstrations by the fascist Scottish Defence League and English Defence League.

He stated in a Facebook post: “I personally support the aims and objectives of the Defence Leagues. UKIP has no official party line on this issue.” 

He also claimed that there is “more chance of winning the lottery two weeks running than getting an openly Rangers-supporting MSP into the chamber of the institutionally Catholicised pretendy parliament”.

A UKIP source in the east of Scotland, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s looking increasingly likely that Misty will get his way and become number one on the list in Glasgow because we are in special measures which means that there can be no democratic vote for candidates.

“But the man is not credible. Almost anyone is better than him. If he does somehow sneak in to Holyrood in the same way that Coburn edged a seat at the Euro elections the party's reputation in Scotland may never recover.”

A group of members are understood to be planning to make and approach to the party leader Nigel Farage’s inner circle and urge them to take UKIP Scotland out of special measures.

“There is a growing clamour among party members for open selections,” added another UKIP Scotland source who also asked to remain anonymous. “There is a hope that the process will be adjudicated fairly and more credible candidates will come to the fore.”

If Thackeray was top of UKIP’s list in the Glasgow region, figures from recent elections suggest he would stand a reasonable chance of becoming an MSP.

The party polled 12,638 votes in the local authority area at last year’s European elections, just under 10% of the 129,552 votes cast.

At the last Scottish Parliament elections in 2011 UKIP didn’t put forward any list candidates in the Glasgow region, which has broadly similar boundaries to the local authority area, however the parties in Glasgow which polled a similar number of votes to the number cast for UKIP last year returned an MSP each.

Conservative Ruth Davidson was elected after her party gained 12,749 votes in Glasgow while the Green Party sent co-convenor Patrick Harvie back to Holyrood after polling 12,454 votes. Both tallies represented around 6% of the total votes cast. 

Meanwhile, support for UKIP appears to be growing across Scotland with the number of votes polled more than doubling from 57,788 at 2009’s European Parliament elections to 140,534 in 2014’s elections.

And the party will be hoping to pick up votes from the Conservatives in Glasgow after relatively popular party leader Ruth Davidson opted to abandon the city to run for election on the Lothians regional list next year.

UKIP could also entice voters away from three anti-EU parties which between them polled more than 3,000 votes in Glasgow at the European elections in 2014.

Leader of UKIP Scotland, David Coburn MEP, dismissed criticism of close ally Thackeray and refused to confirm when the party will be taken out of so-called special measures.

He said: “I suspect there are some sour grapes here from a couple of people that fear they cannot meet the high standards we expect of our candidates in order to be selected. 

“However, this is an internal party matter and has nothing to do with the unique, sensible and increasingly popular policies UKIP will be offering the people of Scotland in the Holyrood elections next year.”

Thackeray added: "David Coburn and myself are subject to the same impartial candidate assessment process as everyone else. 

"It is conducted by an extremely competent neutral team led by our party director and overseen by the NEC which has the final say on selection."