Police will “ensure the rule of law” when Nigel Farage arrives in Edinburgh for his first Scottish rally of the European election campaign, one of his Brexit Party candidates has said.
Jim Ferguson said police would “take any kind of law breaking very seriously” around Friday’s event at the Corn Exchange.
The Brexit Party was mocked by opponents for charging supporters £2.50 a head to attend the rally.
But the party, which is campaigning for a ‘clean break’ from the EU without a deal with Brussels, is confident of securing an MEP in Scotland by drawing pro-Brexit votes from the SNP, Labour and the Conservatives.
Mr Farage has drawn noisy demonstrations on previous campaign visits to Scotland, with the former UKIP leader famously being barricaded inside a Royal Mile pub in 2013 after being surrounded by protesters during the independence referendum. And in 2014, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Corn Exchange shouted “Nazi scum” during a UKIP rally.
The Lib Dem MSP for Edinburgh Western, Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “I’m ready to welcome anyone to the finest city in Scotland, though judging by the last time he usually gets short shrift when he comes to Edinburgh.
“He must be out of his mind if he thinks citizens of the Capital will be willing to pay to her his narrow-minded, insular world view.”
And Green councillor and EU election candidate Chas Booth said: “Edinburgh is proud to be an international and multicultural city, and Farage’s obnoxious blend of casual xenophobia and snake-oil salesman tactics is not welcome here.
“I fully expect he will receive a similar welcome from the people of Edinburgh to the one he got on his last visit.”
But Mr Ferguson, an Inverness businessman who serves as Scottish chairman of charity Crimestoppers, said: “Just because people don’t agree with a particular political view, doesn’t mean they can be violent or disruptive and the police will absolutely be there to ensure the rule of law will be kept.
“I can tell you that Police Scotland will take any kind of law breaking very seriously, and they’re very good at their job.”
Mr Ferguson added that the Brexit Party was winning support from voters fed up with the two main parties at Westminster, as well as the SNP.
“What you have to remember is that there were over a million people in Scotland who voted to leave the EU,” he said.
“We’ve been getting a very positive response, because people see us as a political alternative.
“It doesn’t really matter about the political spectrum, because what we’re fighting for is democracy - to honour it and ensure that the will of the people is adhered to.”