Scotland politics

UKIP Scotland launch election manifesto

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Media captionUKIP's David Coburn says the objective of his party's manifesto is to make the Scottish economy competitive

UKIP Scotland have launched their election manifesto with a pledge to "ensure Brexit means exit".

The party, which is standing in 10 seats across Scotland on 8 June, launched its manifesto in Edinburgh.

Leader David Coburn said UKIP was the only party which would act as a true opposition to the SNP and which would "cut all ties" with the "dinosaur" EU.

He also spoke out against Scottish independence, backing "a strong Scotland in a strong United Kingdom".

The key aim of the manifesto is economic growth, which Mr Coburn said would not occur "while there is the uncertainty of a second independence referendum".

It also calls for Scottish tax rates to be "no higher than the rest of the UK, preferably lower", and said policy should "encourage Scots to stay in Scotland, build their businesses and employ their fellow Scots".

The party also wants to cut the UK's foreign aid budget, saying "charity begins at home", and opposes Conservative reforms to social care such as the so-called 'dementia tax'.

Brexit tests

The manifesto sets a series of tests to ensure that "the government's feet are held to the fire" throughout the Brexit negotiations. These include demands that talks conclude inside two years, that there no financial settlement or ongoing payments to the EU after the UK leaves, and that the UK resume complete control of a 200-mile maritime exclusive zone and take "full control" over immigration.

UKIP Scotland also oppose any further devolution of powers to Holyrood, saying they are "wary of 'independence by accident' and will draw a read line at the transfer of further powers from Westminster".

Mr Coburn said: "Scotland must fully leave the European Union and its single market, whose one size fits all trans-continental bureaucratic rules damage our entrepreneurial society.

"The old parties in Scotland are willing to accept a semi-divorced relationship with the EU, where we have legislation forced upon us. UKIP is the only party in Scotland which wants to cut all ties with the sclerotic, undemocratic European Union and bring its powers back to where they belong.

"UKIP wants a strong Scotland inside a strong United Kingdom. Only by cooperating and working together will this be possible."

At the launch, the MEP also described SNP education policies as "unreadable gobbledegook", and said the Tories were "trying to steal [UKIP's] clothes" and were too soft on the matter of a second Scottish independence referendum.

'Laughing stock'

Other Scottish parties dismissed UKIP as a "laughing stock" with "no presence in Scottish politics".

A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: "UKIP has long been the laughing stock of Scottish politics - and rightly so.

"Many of its ideas are despicable and it is a relief that the prospect of it winning any seats is preposterous. In seats across Scotland, it is a straight fight between Labour and the SNP - the Tories and UKIP are just not at the races.

And a spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "This low-key and anonymous event confirms UKIP has no presence in Scottish politics. Its manifesto pretends UKIP is the only party serious about keeping Scotland in the UK.

"That's completely wrong, and the Scottish Conservatives have proved time and again to be the natural home for voters who want Britain to stay together."

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