Alex Salmond
Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond, who is leading the campaign for independence. Photo by AP
Text size

The first person to register as an official campaigner in the Scottish independence referendum, scheduled for September this year, is a Holocaust denier who has publicly questioned the existence of the gas chambers, the Scottish Herald newspaper reported on Sunday.

Alistair McConnachie, of Glascow, registered with the Electoral Commission as a so-called "permitted participant," last week, entitling him to spend up to £150,000 (880,000 shekels) in support of a No vote.

McConnachie, 48, was Scottish organizer of the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party between 1999 and 2001 and stood as a Ukip candidate five times. However, he was expelled from the party in 2001, following comments he made about the Holocaust.

"I don't accept that gas chambers were used to execute Jews for the simple fact there is no direct physical evidence to show that such gas chambers ever existed," McConnachie wrote in an email to party members. "There are no photographs or films of execution gas chambers ... Alleged eyewitness accounts are revealed as false or highly exaggerated."

McConnachie also claimed the Pope was duped over the Holocaust and accused the Board of Deputies of British Jews of "seeking to establish a monopoly in the marketplace of ideas" because it complained to the BBC for running two interviews with the Holocaust denying historian David Irving.

Since March 2012, McConnachie has run a website called aforceforgood.org.uk, which campaigns for continued union with Britain within the United Kingdom.
Stewart Maxwell, a leading member of the Scottish National Party which is leading the push for independence, called on the pro-Union Better Together campaign to distance itself from McConnachie.

A Better Together spokesman said: "The fact that we had to Google this guy tells you all you need to know about his links to our campaign."