A new anti-independence campaign is to be launched in Glasgow by former members of Scotland in Union eager to promote the benefits of Brexit.
UK Unity has been set up by a former Renfrewshire councillor aiming to push a more aggressive campaign on social media aimed at younger voters.
David Clews, a former development manager at Scotland in Union, will speak at a launch event in Kinning Park on Friday. He will be joined by Kyle Coats, who until last month was a social media co-ordinator at the same organisation.
While firmly against Scottish independence, UK Unity’s Facebook page is filled with pro-Brexit memes. One brands chancellor Philip Hammond a “traitor” over the size of the UK’s bill to leave the EU. Another calls for former prime minister Tony Blair to be sent to jail.
“We are a campaign that seeks to preserve and strengthen the United Kingdom,” explains the group’s mission statement on Facebook.
“We believe that our new relationship with Europe and the world offers us the opportunity to make the real change that we all desire.”
Mr Clews, 35, told The Scotsman that UK Unity was not intended to be a “rival” to Scotland in Union, which is led by former Labour MP Pamela Nash, but added his former employers were “unlikely to be happy about it”.
“I felt something different needed to be done,” he said. “I think Brexit is the elephant in the room. People in the UK have voted to leave. It was a UK-wide vote. It provides opportunities for change. Many who voted for the SNP at the last election also backed Leave.
“The last independence campaign encompassed a myriad of pro-Yes groups. Why can’t the Unionist campaign have a bit more variety or spice? If Scotland in Union want to be more centrist, that’s down to them.”
Mr Clews, who describes himself as an “on-off Labour supporter”, said UK Unity would speak out against a belief in “Scottish exceptionalism”
He added: “People in Coatbridge and Canterbury voted for Jeremy Corbyn. I don’t agree with a lot of what he is doing, but it is clear he is conncecting with people.
“What we’re offering is offering something different. We’re not Better Together Mk II.
“I encourage people to attend our launch event to hear more about we are about.”
Alastair Cameron, founder of Scotland in Union, denied his organisation had split over Brexit.
“Scotland in Union has no link to them (UK Unity) at all,” he told The Herald.
“I would not call them a breakaway group. I’d call them individuals who were with Scotland in Union who have decided to do something else.”