Police lock Farage in pub to avoid protestors

Police lock Farage in pub to avoid protestors

Ukip leader Nigel Farage had to be rescued by police after being mobbed by rowdy protesters shouting “racist Nazi scum”.

Staff were forced to clear the Canons’ Gait pub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, where Mr Farage was due to hold a press conference near the Scottish Parliament, after it was filled with the chanting protesters.

The Ukip leader attempted to make an escape by taxi but protesters blocked its path and Mr Farage was forced to return to the pub, where police barricaded the doors against protesters until officers in a riot van came to his aid.

Two men were arrested after the protest and Mr Farage was escorted from the scene “to ensure his safety”, Police Scotland said.

Mr Farage was in Edinburgh to promote his candidate Otto Inglis in the Aberdeen Donside by-election, but the pub was soon filled by dozens of protesters shouting “racist Nazi scum”.

Protester Max Crema, 21, an economics student and vice president of services at Edinburgh University Students Association, suggested Ukip has “a well documented history of racism”.

Mr Farage replied: “If you believe that then you are less intelligent than you look, dear boy.

“We are a non-racist, non-sectarian party and unlike every other party in British politics we actually forbid people who have been on extreme left or right-wing extremes from joining our party.

“The Labour Party actually has former BNP members sitting as Labour councillors, so don’t give me that rubbish.”

But bar staff were forced to clear the pub as the protesters chanted “racist Nazi scum” and became increasingly rowdy.

Taxi driver Alexander McMillan said he was shaken by the incident.

“They were all going bloody mental,” he said.

“I couldn’t take him, they were attacking that taxi and blocking its path so I just had to give up, and then the police got involved.”

As Mr Farage was escorted away by police, protesters chanted “Farage is being lifted” and “How does it feel to be treated like an asylum seeker?”

A Ukip spokesman described the scene as “inchoate rage”.

“Was it anti-English? I doubt it, I don’t think they thought that far,” he said.

“I don’t think he was shaken up by it. He was laughing, in fact.

“He is happy to debate his views with people who show common decency, and it’s just a shame that people don’t always show the same courtesy.”

He said it was “ironic” that anti-racism protesters were chanting “go back to England” at Mr Farage and his Ukip colleagues.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Two men have been arrested following a protest outside a public house on Edinburgh’s Canongate.

“Officers responded to the address to facilitate a peaceful demonstration which arose during a Ukip meeting that was taking place inside.

“During the protest, which took place around 4.30pm, a 49-year-old man was escorted from the premises to ensure his safety.”

Earlier, Mr Farage explained his strategy for Aberdeen Donside, a seat left vacant by the death of SNP MSP Brian Adam last month.

“Aberdeen was formerly a great fishing port, and is no longer as the common fisheries policy has cost thousands of jobs in Scotland while at the other side of the North Sea Norway controls its own waters and controls the fish within it,” he said.

He distanced himself from his party’s 2010 general election manifesto which pledged to replace Scotland’s 129 MSPs with Scottish MPs.

Previous proposals to relegate Holyrood to a part-time parliament debating more limited devolved issues one week a month were described as “old Ukip”.

“We want an independent UK outside of the EU and a Scotland with fully devolved powers within that union,” he said.

“Independence will clearly be beaten quite heavily in the referendum next year, but I think that devolution is something that is now unstoppable and in the case of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales devolved powers are bound to go further over the next five years.

“I think in five years from now Scotland will be raising and spending a lot more of its own money.”

Mr Farage said Ukip supports a “managed immigration policy” across the UK.

The Scottish Government insists Scotland needs higher net migration to boost the working age population and balance the strain on the economy caused by an ageing population.

Mr Farage said: “I’ve heard all of these arguments before and it forgets that immigrants to Britain grow old too, unless you are operating a work permit scheme or an Australian-style migration policy.

“Maybe Scotland should do that. I am now too old to go Australia, but there may be an argument that if there is a real shortage of skills then actually you want young people to come to the country, work and pay taxes over 35 years before claiming pensions and benefits.

“But at the moment as members of the EU we are not able to choose.”

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