UKIP has officially revealed a man who taught a dog a Nazi salute as one of its candidates in Scotland for the European Parliament elections.

The pro-Brexit party launched their campaign yesterday in central London, unveiling Mark Meechan as an MEP hopeful north of the Border.

Meechan was fined £800 at Airdrie Sheriff Court last year for posting an online video of a dog carrying out Nazi salutes. He had recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “Sieg Heil” and “gas the Jews” by raising its paw.

The 31-year-old from Coatbridge is ranked fourth on the list of the candidates by the party formerly led by Nigel Farage, who now leads the rival Brexit Party.

READ MORE: BBC Scotland drop show featuring Nazi dog salute blogger following backlash

Meechan told a rally yesterday: “I want to protect people from having their rights infringed upon in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of expression by draconian and authoritarian laws.”

He is being joined on Ukip’s list of candidates across the UK by Carl Benjamin, known on YoutTube as Sargon of Akkad, who had previously said he “wouldn’t even rape” Labour MP Jess Phillips – remarks he has stood by.

Ukip’s leader Gerard Batten defended both of the candidates earlier today. He argued: “These gentlemen are free-speech merchants making comedy acts.”

The National:

He added: “If they make jokes as part of their act, I’m not condoning any jokes or any ill-considered remarks, but this is what they are.”

But already calls have been made to deselect Benjamin, who wants to stand for the South West region, for his comments.

READ MORE: Why the EU elections are a chance to reject hateful ideology of Brexit

The party’s Swindon branch said he’d only just joined the party and his members wanted “nothing to do with Carl or his websites”.

He added: “His appearance is not doing Ukip any favours.”

Meechan failed in a bid to challenge his conviction earlier this year after raising more than £75,000 through an online appeal to help pay for the challenge. He denied committing an offence under the Communications Act during a trial but was found guilty of breaching it by posting the grossly offensive film online. He claimed that the video was only intended as a joke to upset his girlfriend.

The SNP MEP Alyn Smith, who is standing as a candidate, said: “The most interesting thing this chap has done is a jape with his dog. He’s not even rated highly enough by Ukip to be top of their list and we should pay him no more heed.”

A poll conducted by YouGov earlier this week suggested that Farage’s Brexit Party could be on course for a shock win at next month’s European elections.

The survey, published on Wednesday, found the hardline Leave-supporting party would get 27% of the vote across the UK, with Labour netting 22% and the Tories and Ukip plummeting to just 15% and 7% respectively. In Scotland the SNP were on course to win, netting 35% of the vote, the poll found.

Former Labour MP George Galloway yesterday revealed he will be supporting the Brexit Party.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour and the Scottish LibDems unveiled their candidates, with sitting MEP David Martin the lead candidate for Richard Leonard’s party, followed by former MSP Jayne Baxter and political and community activist Craig Miller.

The SNP will announce its candidates at next week’s conference. The party is currently working on its manifesto which is expected to be launched in early May.

The elections will go ahead next month if the UK is still in the EU. Theresa May wants to get her withdrawal agreement passed in the Commons, however, it has been defeated three times and she is now holding talks with Labour to try to break the impasse.

Last week the PM agreed with EU nations to delay Brexit until October 31 if her deal is not passed before the European elections.