SCOTTISH Labour has been accused of an “establishment stitch-up” after unveiling its candidates for the European elections.

The party’s list includes two hopefuls who work for members of its frontbench – and one who is an assistant to leader Richard Leonard.

It came as a fresh row gripped Ukip after a Scottish MEP candidate joked about raping women as a student.

A Scottish Labour source said: “Rather than real change, this looks like an establishment stitch-up to pick candidates who either work for the leader or shadow cabinet members.

“But the real test is what campaign we run. If we run a distinct Scottish campaign against Brexit and for a People’s Vote we can hold our two seats, but if we just follow [UK leader Jeremy] Corbyn’s lead then we’re in trouble.”

Former MSP Jayne Baxter, who is second on Scottish Labour’s candidate list, works for shadow communities secretary Alex Rowley. Another hopeful, Amy Lee Fraioli, works for shadow finance secretary James Kelly.

Meanwhile, Craig Miller, who is third on the list, works on campaigns, communications and diary management in Mr Leonard’s office.

Scotland’s longest serving MEP David Martin tops the party’s list, while former Westminster candidate Callum O’Dwyer and trade unionist Angela Bretherton are fifth and sixth in line.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Our candidates were selected following an open application process, having followed similar procedures before the 2017 general election.”

It is understood emails were sent out to invite candidates to put themselves forward, before hopefuls were then interviewed by a panel made up of senior party figures from Scotland and the UK.

In contrast, both the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Greens choose MEP candidates by balloting members, and the SNP will ballot delegates at its upcoming conference.

Only Labour and the Scottish Tories have not involved members in decision making.

Parties have been announcing European candidates following the latest Brexit delay, with little expectation the UK will leave the EU before polls open on May 23.

Scotland is treated as a single constituency in the elections, with six MEPs. Each party draws up a list of hopefuls, with the highest-ranked most likely to be elected.

It came as Scots Ukip candidate Mark Meechan, who is known online as Count Dankula, was filmed by Channel 4 News making comments about rape at an event in London on Wednesday night.

He said: “I’ve been a student, most of you have probably been students. We were f**king poor, weren’t we?

“You couldn’t afford a hook up, so you had to rape. And it’s even worse if you’re a female student, because not only are you poor but you’re also getting raped.”

Asked about the comments during a press conference, Ukip leader Gerard Batten said they had been part of a stand-up comedy show.

Mr Meechan, a YouTuber originally from Coatbridge, gained notoriety last year after he was fined £800 for filming his pet dog giving Nazi salutes in response to statements such “gas the Jews” and “sieg heil”.

Elsewhere, fellow Ukip hopeful Carl Benjamin refused to apologise for a tweet he sent in 2016 insisting he “wouldn’t even rape” Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Mr Batten also attacked former Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party as a “vehicle to put one man in the limelight and a vehicle to put people back on the gravy train”.

Meanwhile, the Scottish LibDems unveiled their candidates yesterday at an event on Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

Leader Willie Rennie insisted his was the “only party in the field” representing the pro-UK, pro-EU vote.

Former councillor Sheila Ritchie, who is top on the party’s list, said its message was simple: “That we can stop Brexit.”

She said there are concerns the elections will see a low turn-out “because people are completely turned off politics”.

She added: “I don’t think the SNP have helped with that, with their constant demand for indyref2. It’s pretty clear to me there is no demand for that within the general populous.

“So in Scotland there’s just as much turn-off from politics as there is anywhere else.”