Former senior Ukip Scotland member accuses the party of stoking anti-Catholic bigotry

Ukip candidate for the Scottish Parliament referred to Catholicism as "filthy mysticism"

A FORMER senior Ukip Scotland member has blasted the party for what he claims is its attempts to win votes in the Scottish elections through galvanising anti-Catholic sentiment.

Dr Jonathan Stanley, former party treasurer, left the party in 2015 over what he then called "sectarian racist filth" within the organisation. Quoted in the Catholic Observer, he said he believed the party was now trying to capitalise on anti-Catholic bigotry in order to win vote share in the run up to the 2016 Scottish elections

He said: "I think they've chosen to go down this route because they believe it will get them to 6 or 7 per cent.

In 2015 one of the party's Scottish election candidates, Caroline Santos, claimed that the Catholic faith was "filthy mysticism".

"If they were genuinely anti-Catholic, that would be one thing, but if this is just an attempt to dig up the bones of sectarianism, I don't think it will work."

Ukip Scotland has a history of senior members making controversial statements about Catholicism.

In 2015 one of the party's Scottish election candidates, Caroline Santos, claimed that the Catholic faith was "filthy mysticism".

In January 2014 then acting chair of Ukip Scotland Misty Thackeray aroused controversy for saying Glasgow City Council (GCC) stood for "gays, Catholics, [and] communists" and that Catholicism was a "fascist ideology" and that Scotland suffered from a "suffocating culture of anti-loyalism".

Thackeray has since stood down from his Ukip role over allegations that he made indecent phone calls to women.

Ukip Scotland recently released it's 2016 election manifesto with pledges to privilege what it calls "local people" for housing, curb immigration and clamp down unauthorised traveller sites.

The party is expected to benefit from significant media coverage in the run-up to the UK's referendum on EU membership on 23 June 2016.

The Scottish elections will be held on Thursday 5 May.

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Picture courtesy Antony ***