Ukip ready to take on Alex Salmond and SNP

Ukip won more than 10 per cent of the Scottish vote in the European Parliament elections. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Ukip won more than 10 per cent of the Scottish vote in the European Parliament elections. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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SCOTLAND’S only elected Ukip politician has said he will stand against Alex Salmond after the former SNP leader confirmed he would contest next year’s general election.

The Ukip MEP David Coburn shocked the SNP when he won the European Parliament seat the Nationalists had expected to take in May, in what was the first ever parliamentary victory by the anti-EU party in Scotland.

Coburn told Scotland on Sunday that Ukip would devote a large part of its Scottish operation’s resources to challenge Salmond, following the former SNP leader’s announcement that he will stand for the Westminster seat of Gordon in Aberdeenshire.

Coburn, whose party won more than 10 per cent of the vote in the European Parliament elections in Scotland, said Ukip would challenge Salmond in the constituency.

Salmond was the Banff and Buchan MP for 23 years until 2010. The former first minister, who continues to sit as the Aberdeenshire East MSP at Holyrood, will now formally seek selection as the SNP candidate for the Liberal Democrat held Westminster seat of Gordon, which includes part of his existing Scottish parliament constituency.

Coburn said that large numbers of voters would be angry about Salmond switching from the parliament in Edinburgh to London for what would be the second time in his career.

He said: “We’ll throw a lot of resources at it and target the seat he goes for and quite a few others. He’s the biggest beast, so we’re going to try to knock out this big beast.

“The man’s arrogance in assuming Scottish voters will put him where he wants means we have a very good chance of beating him.”

Coburn said that Ukip’s decision to challenge Salmond, was motivated by what he said was the SNP politician’s refusal to accept the defeat of independence in the referendum on 18 September.

The MEP, whose victory stopped the SNP winning a third seat in the European Parliament in May, suggested that Salmond would be prepared to support a minority Labour or Tory government in the Commons to try to win “independence by the back door” if he was elected in 2015.

Coburn said: “Mr Salmond has made a lot of interesting remarks about the English and he’s alienated our closest trading partner.

“He has tried to rat on the referendum result and achieve independence by the back door. It’s possible that he would prop up a rotten Labour government or even a rotten Conservative government.”

An SNP spokeswoman claimed Ukip in Scotland was beset by infighting and that the party would be rejected by voters in Gordon next year.

She said: “Ukip have virtually disappeared in Scotland, amid a chaotic catalogue of mutual recrimination and expulsion, and candidates with extreme views.

“David Coburn fits exactly into that category, and he will get short shrift from the people of north-east Scotland.”