VOTE Patrick and get Nigel, that’s the warning from the SNP’s Alyn Smith ahead of next month’s European election.

Writing in today’s National, the MEP says a vote for the Scottish Greens will “open the door for Ukip or the Brexit Party”.

The Greens accused the SNP man of arrogance.

Smith is one of the SNP’s six candidates for the May 23 poll.

Delegates to this weekend’s SNP conference in Edinburgh have until 10am today to vote on the order in which those six should appear on the list.

With the party predicted to take at least two seats, whoever makes it to the top will almost certainly get elected – if the elections happen.

Writing in The National, Smith says the SNP could even get three seats, but only if Green supporters don’t accidentally allow Ukip or Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party to win.

“Under the closed list system in operation at the European election, the fact is the Greens are well off from winning the sixth seat, and are more likely to open the door for Ukip or the Brexit Party, as indeed happened in the last election in 2014,” he writes.

“As I say, people should vote with their consciences but those are the stats as they stand.”

The MEP’s comments echoed remarks by his MP colleague Tommy Sheppard earlier this month, when he pleaded with the Scottish Greens to strike an agreement with the SNP at the next Holyrood election to allow the bigger party to fight certain marginal seats – including Ruth Davidson’s Edinburgh Central – as the sole pro-independence party.

Yesterday, Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer was having none of it: “If the SNP had stood down every time Labour asked, for the sake of ‘stopping the Tories’, they would never have won an election.

“To see them repeat those same arrogant claims is disappointing.

“At the last European election Ukip came fourth and the Greens in fifth, just two points behind. We are clearly in a strong position to beat them this time.

“If voters want a MEP who will fight for Scotland’s place at the heart of Europe, who believes in tackling the climate emergency and who stands for hope over hate, voting Green is the single most effective way to deliver it.”

The European elections are run under the d’Hondt system, much like the list system used for the Scottish Parliament, with voters voting for one party.

Effectively, if a party gets a third of the votes in a constituency they then get a third of the MEPs for that constituency. For these elections, Scotland as a whole is a constituency, and returns six MEPs.

It’s not clear if David Coburn, the former Ukip MEP who recently defected to the Brexit Party will be standing.

Earlier this month, writing in this paper, Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said his party would be targeting efforts to unseat the Brexiteer.

“The Scottish Greens would jump at the chance to help Scotland unburden itself of its bizarrely incoherent far-right MEP,” he said.