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Pollster warns Nigel Farage’s new political outfit will split Scotland’s unionist vote

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon addresses the People's Vote March in London. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Despite vowing to make the case against Scottish independence, Nigel Farage’s new party could make it tougher for Unionist parties in the Holyrood elections, a pollster has warned.

Professor Sir John Curtice has said the new Reform UK party in Scotland will be targeting Tory voters who backed Brexit in Scotland, making it harder for the Conservatives to retain their position as the official opposition.

He told the National: “More leave voters vote Tory than anything else, so the Tories are the ones which will be least happy.

“A third of SNP voters backed Leave, but with Reform UK running with the type of British nationalism that was typical of the Brexit Party and UKIP that doesn’t do well up here.

“But one suspects Tory leave voters are somewhat more vulnerable [to the Reform Party] than SNP leave voters. Meanwhile, of course, it fractures the Unionist vote a bit more.”

Asked about Labour’s chances in the elections, he said: “The Labour party position in the polls has improved a bit, the average is now about 17% rather than 16%, but the Tories are running just below what they got in 2016.”

Curtice argued that Reform UK would not “make much impact” in the Scottish elections and that the anti-lockdown message was “niche”.

“The people who tend to complain most about lockdown are Brexiteers but research so far suggests that is not true of public opinion,” he added.