Far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage has accused the Scottish National Party (SNP) of being “openly racist” towards the English as pre-election rhetoric highlights the escalating political crisis between England and Scotland.
Speaking from the city of Hartlepool in northeastern England while on his election campaign, Farage said, “The SNP are openly racist. The anti-English hostility and the kind of language that is used about and towards English people is totally extraordinary.”
Farage also recalled an incident last year that took place during his visit to the Scottish capital Edinburgh, in which he was forced to seek refuge in a pub from angry SNP supporters.
“I was surrounded by people in the street shouting racist anti-English comments,” he later explained to ITV News.
“When I say that I don't think we should have an open door to Poland, Latvia and Lithuania I'm accused of being racist and yet when it's the Scots being rude about the English you don't think it is.
“I think the one I blame is [former SNP leader] Alex Salmond. When I was attacked by a group of thugs in the street in Edinburgh with the most extraordinary anti-English sentiments being shouted, when Salmond was asked whether he condemned that behaviour he didn't,” he said, adding that he feels the current SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has also failed to confront the issue.
SNP minister Humza Yousaf hit back at Farage’s comments, calling them “disgraceful” and “offensive” to both the SNP and the majority of Scots.
“The SNP have been clear that we will be a positive voice for people across the UK,” Yousaf said. “All UKIP have to offer is nasty rhetoric.”
The UKIP leader earlier this week also slammed mainstream British parties for promising to continue the “Barnett formula,” which sees 20 percent per capita more public spending in Scotland than in England, and accused the SNP of spreading “terror” in communities.
“In the terror of Scottish nationalism, the three leaders of our main parties appease the Scottish nationalists by all promising to continue the Barnett formula. We’ve just about had enough. We want a fair deal for the English,” Farage was quoted saying in the Guardian.
“There is a terror. There is a sense of terror in the community about the SNP,” he continued before going on to bemoan a potential alliance emerging between Britain’s centre-left opposition Labour Party and the SNP ahead of the May 7 national elections, in which the eurosceptic UKIP is pushing for its first seat following a successful campaign in last year’s European Parliamentary elections.
Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight programme, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she would form an alliance with Ed Miliband’s Labour Party even if they come runner-up against incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party.
"If [the Conservatives] can't command a majority, they can't be a government," Sturgeon said, reiterating previous comments in which she said the SNP would enter a coalition with Labour if it collects enough seats in the upcoming polls.
"Even if the Tories are the largest party, if there is an anti-Tory majority, my offer to Labour is to work together to keep the Tories out."
Although the SNP currently only holds six seats in Westminster, the latest surveys suggest they are on the verge of winning the vast majority of the 59 seats located in Scotland.
Last September, the SNP organised a referendum for the independence of Scotland from the UK. While 44.7 percent voted “Yes,” 55.3 percent of Scots voted “No” and thus chose to stay in the United Kingdom.
Following the poll, former SNP leader Alex Salmond resigned, paving the way for Sturgeon to take over as Scotland's fifth first minister since the Scottish parliament was established in 1999.
However, a recent survey by Sky News predicts that the younger generation in Scotland may vote for the independence of the country in the future, noting Sturgeon’s election campaign has led to the belief among 55 percent of Scots that Scotland will be independent in their lifetime.