Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has challenged Nicola Sturgeon's push for Scottish independence, saying that her campaign for a new referendum is "the most dishonest political discourse anywhere in the world".
At a rally in Edinburgh of Friday, Farage asked SNP voters who backed Brexit in 2016 to vote for his party in the upcoming European election.
"If you're genuinely a nationalist lend your vote to the Brexit party, let's get out of the EU and then have an honest debate about independence," he told a crowd of supporters.
Scots voted decisively to remain in the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum by 62 to 38 per cent. Farage noted, however, that those who voted Leave in Scotland are being treated with "complete and utter contempt".
"The impression that's often given by Nicola Sturgeon is that almost everybody in Scotland thinks the European Union is a fantastic idea, when the reality is that 30 percent of her own voters, because they are actually genuinely nationalists, voted to leave the EU," said Farage.
His Brexit Party is poised to secure 35 per cent of the vote in next week's election, according to a recent YouGov poll commissioned by The Times. The same poll put Labour and the Tories on 15 and 9 per cent, respectively.
THREAD/ We take an in-depth look at EU Parliament voting intention. First up, new headline results:— YouGov (@YouGov) 17 мая 2019 г.
Brexit Party — 35%
Lib Dem — 16%
Lab — 15%
Green — 10%
Con — 9%
Change UK — 5%
UKIP — 3%
Other — 7%
(Fieldwork 12-16 May)https://t.co/COOknhxQCQ pic.twitter.com/e3531hrlyj
North of the border, the Brexit Party is expected to win two MEPs out of six, with three seats potentially going to the Scottish National Party (SNP) and one to the Liberal Democrats or the Greens.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's first minister and leader of the pro-independence SNP, is an outspoken opponent of Brexit. Launching the SNP's European election campaign last week, she described the 23 May vote as "by far the most important European election in Scotland's history".
She called on voters to back her party, saying that by voting SNP, they will send a "clear and unequivocal message" to Prime Minister Theresa May that Scotland "does not want Brexit".
Sturgeon has also backed calls for a fresh referendum on Scottish independence, stating that Scots have a "real chance" of remaining in the European Union if they are spared of the UK. The next Scottish Parliament election will be in 2021, and Sturgeon wants a new vote to take place by that time if Brexit goes ahead.
The last such referendum was held in 2014; Scotland voted to stay in the UK after 55.3 per cent of its citizens rejected independence.