A LINK has emerged between Scotland’s latest pro-independence party and a controversial protest at the border which the SNP condemned as moronic and vile. 

A regional organiser for the new Alliance for Independence (AFI) group was behind the protest at which Yes supporters in hazmat suits shouted “plague carriers” at visitors.

Pat Lee, a former co-convener of Tommy Sheridan’s Solidarity party, boasted about his part in a recent Facebook broadcast.

According to his social media posts, Mr Lee has been the AFI’s regional organiser in Central Scotland since June and is currently a moderator of its Facebook site.

The AFI was set up to “max the Yes” at the 2021 election by standing pro-independence candidates on the eight regional lists for Holyrood.

Its advocates, including former SNP MSPs Dave Thompson, say it would help deliver a super majority of Yes MSPs, forcing Boris Johnson to grant Indyref2.

They claim there is little point in voting SNP on the list, as the party only won four top-up MSPs in 2016 because it did so well on the constituency vote.

However Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP will continue to contest the list, meaning the AFI could end up splitting the Yes vote.

Given the presence of his old allies, there is speculation Mr Sheridan, who was sentenced to three years in jail for perjury in 2011, may try to use the AFI as a comeback vehicle. 

The AFI is due to submit registration papers to the Electoral Commission tomorrow.

READ MORE: Border protesters threatened to 'shame to death' northbound travellers by publicly posting number plates

The border protest on July 4, at which Yes supporters said they wanted to keep Scotland Covid free, was widely condemned by senior SNP politicians.  

In a video uploaded to social media at the time, one of those protesting said the message to tourists was “stay the f*** out” and “stay the f*** away”.

SNP Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf tweeted: “If you are a racist you are no friend of mine and no part of the movement I belong to. Horrible, reprehensible and vile.  

“Luckily these morons don't represent the Scotland I know and love.”

SNP MPs Pete Wishart and Joanna Cherry, and Ms Sturgeon also condemned it. 

The First Minister said: “The people who protested at the border did not speak for me, they were not there on my behalf or communicating a message that I endorse in any way.

“I would emphatically say I do not endorse that.

“I don't approve of the protests, and I would ask people not to protest on the border because I don't think it is a particularly sensible or helpful thing to do.

"I can't be clearer than I have been - the SNP is an open and welcoming party and Scotland is an open and welcoming country, and that kind of protest is not something I condone or endorse in any way, shape or form."

In response to the criticisms, Mr Lee posted a message on Facebook on July 5 in which he said he had been part of the plan.

He wrote: “I was on the Convoy, and had to cut off early due to family needs. But I support these Stalwarts of Scotland.”

He said Mr Yousaf and Mr Wishart should have a “long hard look in the mirror”.

READ MORE: Veteran independence activist says 'our Scottish border protest was not anti-English'

Three days later, Mr Lee took part in a pro-independence Facebook event called the People’s International Chat Show alongside Dave Llewellyn, the protestor who live-streamed the Border event, in which he shouted “plague carriers” at campervans.

Mr Lee said: “We’ve had an interesting week in Scotland, mostly committed by yourself and myself, Dave. We had a wee trip down to the Borders to emphasise a public health warning for those travelling to the country.”

Mr Lee later told Mr Llewellyn: “You did a massive favour for Scotland. You got people talking about it, Dave. “

When Mr Llewellyn modestly downplayed his part, Mr Lee said: “We, we.”

Mr Lee was elected as an SNP councillor in South Lanarkshire in 2012.

He stood unsuccessfully for re-election as a Solidarity candidate in 2017.  

Another Solidarity veteran involved in AFI is Steve Arnott, Tommy Sheridan’s former organiser in the Highlands & Islands. He is also an AFI Facebook moderator.

Also behind the AFI is filmmaker Jim Manclark from Ardrossan. In 2005, he was quoted in the media as a 41-year-old Doctor Who “superfan” with a dalek in his home.

Mr Lee and Mr Manclark did not respond to requests for comment.