Mr Farage noted the party had grown rapidly since its launch only weeks ago in Coventry and joked that he expected no one to turn up at last night’s event in view of an onslaught of criticism and questioning of the Brexit movement.
“I have wondered if I would go down in political history as the patron saint of lost causes, but I kept going,” he said. “I did it because I am a patriot. I did it because we are a great nation but we are very badly led.”
Supporters arriving at the Corn Exchange were met by a small but noisy group of demonstrators chanting “shame on you”, accusing them of being a party of division and prejudice, although the rally was opened and hosted by party candidate Louis Stedman-Bryce who reminded the audience that he was black and gay. He was not born in Scotland but had chosen to live in Argyll. Another candidate, Karina Walker, said she was “half Polish, half Russian, but 100% Scottish”.
Mr Farage described the protest as a “howling mob” but noted that it was “considerably smaller than when I was here a few years ago.
On that occasion in 2013 he was forced to take refuge in the Canon’s Gait bar in the Royal Mile and escorted away into a police van.
Before addressing the Corn Exchange rally Mr Farage answered questions on his receiving £450,000 of funding from the businessman Aaron Bank following the 2016 vote. Mr Banks is said to have confirmed he gave the money to Mr Farage who last night claimed the issue was a private matter.
He said: “Whatever happened after the referendum, I was leaving politics, it was happening mostly in America, had nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with the Brexit Party, it was purely on a personal basis.
“I was looking for a new career and a new life, it’s got nothing to do with anything. It’s a purely private matter.”
Nicola Sturgeon and Alyn Smith (third from left) campaigning in Leith (pic: Terry Murden)
Ms Sturgeon today joined campaigners in Leith to promote the SNP’s call for Brexit to be stopped.
Responding to Mr Farage’s accusation about her being guilty of “dishonest political discourse,” she told Daily Business: “I am not paying much attention to a friend of Donald Trump.”
Ms Sturgeon was accompanied by EU candidate Alyn Smith and party activists outside Pilrig Church.
- Nigel Farage’s rally in Edinburgh on Friday night was not mentioned in the BBC Radio Scotland news bulletin on Saturday morning.