Scottish election 2021: UKIP campaigning to scrap Scottish Parliament

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UKIP Scotland leader Donald Mackay said his party wants to scrap devolved administrations across the UK

The Scottish Parliament is a glorified form of local government that should be scrapped to save money, according to UKIP's leader in Scotland.

Donald Mackay said his party was the only one campaigning to abolish devolved administrations across the UK ahead of the elections on 6 May.

And he denied it was hypocritical to be standing for election to a parliament that he wants to shut down.

He also said closing businesses during the Covid lockdown was "madness".

UKIP, which largely spearheaded the campaign for the UK to leave the EU, is fielding candidates in all eight regional lists in the Holyrood election as well as in five constituencies.

Mr Mackay insisted that the party still had a reason to exist despite achieving its core objective of Brexit.

He said: "We are the only UK party that is committed to getting rid of all the devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"We believe they are an expensive and glorified form of local government and they all get paid rather healthy salaries for doing not doing very much."

Mr Mackay said his party had taken seats in the European Parliament despite wanting it to be abolished, and insisted he would "use the salary for purposes other than my own pocket" if he was to be elected to Holyrood.

He added: "We want to get people elected in order to express the point that this parliament is useless, and it's expensive and we can get rid of it and save a lot of money."

SCOTLAND'S ELECTION: THE BASICS

What's happening? On 6 May, people across Scotland will vote to elect 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The party that wins the most seats will form the government. Find out more here.

What powers do they have? MSPs pass laws on aspects of life in Scotland such as health, education and transport - and have some powers over tax and welfare benefits.

Who can vote? Anyone who lives in Scotland, is registered to vote and aged 16 or over on 6 May is eligible. You can register to vote online.

UKIP describes itself as being opposed to the Covid lockdown - although Mr Mackay insisted he was in favour of "common sense policies" for dealing with the pandemic.

He said: "Closing down businesses for a year is madness.

"We are strongly committed to the small business community and the small business community has been devastated by these decisions - decisions made by people who of course understand nothing at all about small businesses.

"We are committed to helping the small business community which creates jobs and profits and creates healthy economies, and no other party seems interested in that.

"Lockdown has been a disaster that should never have happened, at least not to the extent that it did."

A modern browser with JavaScript and a stable internet connection is required to view this interactive. More information about these elections

Note: This lookup covers national elections in Scotland and Wales, the Hartlepool by-election, as well as council and mayoral elections in England and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in England and Wales. There may be parish council elections or council by-elections where you are. Check your local council website for full details. Last updated: May 11, 2021, 12:35 GMT

UKIP also wants to scrap the Scottish government's controversial Hate Crime Bill, which the party believes is a fundamental attack on freedom of speech.

Mr Mackay said: "People should freely be able to express their opinions about any subject they wish, and if offence is caused - well offence is always caused.

"You can't have a debate about anything without somebody being offended, me included, but that is freedom.

"Once we start telling people what to say then it's not too far from telling them what to think and freedom in any meaningful sense has gone."

He also said he was "unpersuaded" that even the worst racist, misogynist, homophobic or transphobic abuse should be illegal, adding: "That will always be a matter of personal judgement as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.

"And you can rest assured that if we start saying that the extremes of that are illegal, it will not be too long before the less extremes are illegal."