UK ELECTION laws discriminate against Gaelic speakers and must be changed, Scotland's newest independence party claims.

Scotia Future, which was unveiled by former SNP politicians last week, wants the Attorney General of England and Wales to lift the ballot paper ban on Gaelic.

New parties can register up to six slogans with the Electoral Commission for use on ballot papers.

But while Welsh is permitted in Wales and Irish Gaelic can be used in Northern Ireland, Scots Gaelic cannot appear on voting papers in Scotland.

When Scotia Future — which is led by ex-MSP Chic Brodie and intends to put up candidates in both list and constituency contests in next year's Holyrood race — tried to register a Gaelic slogan, it was knocked back.

It has now written to Attorney General Suella Braverman MP asking her to “allow equal rights for Scots Gaelic speakers on ballot papers in Scotland”. 

The National:

Renfrewshire councillor Andy Doig, the party's nominating officer, said: “We wished to register our name and a slogan in Scots Gaelic that could be used if we decided to fight seats in the West Highlands.

“When we pointed out to the commission in London, who deal with party registration, that under Scots law Gaelic was one of the official languages of Scotland, they said this was irrelevant as the commission was established prior to this Act and that electoral matters were reserved rather than devolved in any event, which is of course unfortunately true.”

He went on: “Welsh is legally entitled to be on the ballot paper in Wales as the 1999 Act which established the Electoral Commission enshrined Welsh as a legal UK language. When I asked the commission staff in London about the position of Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland, they said it was enshrined under the Good Friday Agreement so could be placed on the ballot there.

“While the Electoral Commission in Edinburgh were sympathetic to the point we raised, they had to defer to London.

“This is nothing less than discriminatory for Scots Gaelic speakers so I have written to the Attorney General for England and Wales to request that the 2005 Gaelic Act be homologated into law, south of the border, so that Scots Gaelic speakers can have equal rights on the ballot paper.”