CAMPAIGNERS took to the streets of Edinburgh over the weekend urging voters to reject a far-right teacher vying to become the next councillor for Leith Walk.

Among the eleven people seeking to replace Labour’s Marion Donaldson – whose resignation in February triggered Thursday’s by-election – is Paul Stirling from the For Britain movement.

The former drama teacher, turned literary editor, is the first candidate the party has fielded in Scotland, and the prospect of him making even the slightest dent in this week’s poll has prompted anti-fascists into action.

They worry that the group, made of right-wingers too extreme for Ukip, is seeking a move from the fringes to the mainstream.

Edinburgh Against the SDL called For Britain “racist and Islamophobic” while Stand up to racism labelled the party a “nasty Islamophobic and racist far-right outfit” and described Stirling as a “Nazi”.

For Britain, For Scotland’s Facebook page includes posts about the “Islamic threat and how to defeat it” and the “Islamic invasion of Britain”.

It’s remorselessly anti-Muslim and features clips from former Britain First leader, Jayda Fransen (pictured below).

The National:

On his own personal Facebook page, Stirling's mask slips, and in one post he refers to London as “Londonistan.”

The 41-year-old told The National he had never thought of himself a racist:“I have travelled extensively and lived abroad for many years in both Europe and Asia and have never considered myself racist.

“I believe it is a lazily applied term designed to silence opposition and I feel for people who are called ‘racists’ or ‘bigots’ by a shrill minority of activists if they raise any objection to illegal and mass immigration.”

In a statement, Stand Up To Racism said both For Britain, and Ukip, who are also standing were trying to “capitalise from the upsurge in racism and Islamophobia in Britain today”.

Their spokesperson said: “These racists do not stand ‘for Britain’. They are for dividing Britain. Racism, Islamophobia and violence against minorities will do nothing to build new housing, defend essential public services like the NHS or maintain living standards. It will only set one group against another and make it harder to defend these common interests.”

“Through the process of fielding candidates in this election, these two far right parties are hoping to gain a foothold locally. They must not be allowed to do so.On the last two Saturdays we have distributed leaflets on Leith Walk advising people not to vote for these candidates. Our message has gone down very well, with most passers-by taking our leaflets and many people welcoming the fact that we were doing this.

“Leith has a proud, diverse, multi-cultural community in which people support one another, and needs to reject the forces that seek to divide us, that seek to persuade people their problems are being caused by immigrants and Muslims. Anti-racists are the majority and we will win.”

The SNP's candidate at the by-election, Rob Munn, said he was confident Leithers would reject Stirling.

“There is no place in Leith for the disgraceful views of the For Britain party or their candidate. This is a wonderful community that is united by its diversity and internationalism,” he said.

“The voters of Leith Walk will have their say on Thursday when I predict that they will be roundly rejected at the ballot box. There is no place in Scotland for this odious ideology.”

The election has coincided with racist graffiti, including a drawing of swastika, being daubed in the lift of a Leith Walk block of flats.

Green councillor Susan Rae, who lives in the block, was quick to draw a relationship between the two. She tweeted. “This is what comes of bloody #brexit & fascists leafleting garbage under the guise of democracy. These appeared in my lift today-on my actual doorstep-and the Polish guy who delivered my parcel & has lived & worked here 15 years was devastated. #shamed”

Police are investigating.