Scotland politics

Protesters disrupt pro-Brexit Glasgow rally

Anti-racism protester Image copyright PA
Image caption Protesters accused the UKIP leader of promoting hatred

Protesters have disrupted a pro-Brexit rally attended by UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Conservative MP Liam Fox.

A group of about 20 people staged a vocal protest outside the Grassroots Out rally at Glasgow University, with several later ejected from the hall.

Mr Farage accused "nationalists" of "closing down" political debate.

But one protester said they represented a coalition of anti-racist groups including Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Stand up to Racism.

Mr Farage, who earlier helped to launch UKIP's manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election, has faced protests on previous visits to Scotland.

He told those attending the rally: "It's great to see the usual welcoming reception committee outside. But it's important to understand why.

"It's important to understand what's been going on in Scottish politics. There has been a deliberate attempt by the so-called nationalists to close down genuine, open, proper political debate in this country."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Farage has faced anti-racism protests in Scotland in the past

But one protester, Joshua Brown, said the demonstrators represented a variety of political views, united by a common opposition to racism.

He said: "It's not about one political party or another, and it's not even about the European referendum.

"It's about standing up against racism, standing up against xenophobia and standing up against misogyny, sexism and all of the terrible things that UKIP represents."

In his speech Mr Farage said: "We've been told for the last few years that Scotland is different to the rest of the United Kingdom.

"But actually the fact is we've never had the debate in Scotland because the parties in Holyrood are all in hock to the European project.

"Let's have that debate. Let us wipe the smirk off the face of the Edinburgh political establishment. Let's stun them in this referendum on 23 June."

Leaflet anger

The UKIP leader also urged attendees at the rally to send back the UK government's pro-EU leaflets that will be delivered to millions of homes from next week.

He said: "My suggestion is we think back to that old Elvis Presley hit and we return to sender. Send it back to Downing Street. I hope they get millions sent back to Downing Street."

The rally was also addressed by Conservative MP and former defence secretary Liam Fox, who criticised the leaflet as well.

He said: "£9.2m of hard-working taxpayers' money for the new and the ultimate dodgy dossier in our country."

He added: "Guess which word they didn't have the nerve to put on the front of the leaflet? Reformed doesn't appear there at all. Do you know why? Because there is no reformed European Union."

David Cameron has defended the leaflets, saying the UK government is not neutral in the debate and describing the cost of the leaflet campaign as "well spent".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The demonstrators said they were from a number of anti-racism groups