THE branding of George Galloway's Alliance for Unity party is being investigated by the Ministry of Defence's copyright lawyers, The National can reveal.

A4U are a grouping of people with varying political allegiances that hope to stop pro-independence parties gaining a majority in May’s Holyrood election.

The party is using imagery of patriotism and the military to aid their political messaging –with a red, white and blue circular logo identical to the Royal Air Force (RAF) Roundel prominently displayed in both colour and grayscale on their webpage. It also appears on their Twitter page, which features images of Galloway with the logo behind him.

The National:

A4U have even registered the logo as an symbol to be used on ballot papers and this has been accepted by the Electoral Commission, partly because the imagery will show up in black and white on printed ballot forms.

The Ministry of Defence's brand and licensing team told The National: "This isn’t allowed or approved I will let our copyright lawyers know it is for them to deal with. Thank you for highlighting this to us."

The Electoral Commission said: "Parties may register up to 12 party descriptions and up to three emblems with the Electoral Commission.

"At certain elections a registered emblem or party description may be used on the ballot paper. 

"We do not regulate how a party wishes to brand itself when that message does not appear on ballot papers."

A spokesperson for A4U said: "Our logo, as approved by the Electoral Commission, is different to that of the RAF Roundel. No official A4U branding contains the RAF roundel.

"All applications to register political parties are subject to a statutory consultation process, whereby members of the public and organisations including the MoD are able to object to any proposed names, emblems or descriptions.

"We are pleased that the Electoral Commission approved our name, emblem and descriptions after that process, and we look forward to putting our case to the people of Scotland in the run up to the Holyrood elections in May."

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The Royal Air Force is keen to protect its trademark as it has a history dating back to the First World War.

Until then the underside of the aircraft of what was then called the Royal Flying Corps was marked with a Union Jack flag to help avoid being shot down by friendly fire.

But at high altitudes only the cross of the flag was visible and it looked similar to the Iron Cross used on German planes – so the concentric circles target sign was adopted instead.

In 2008, the RAF lauched a legal bid to stop Next using its roundel symbol on a duvet cover. In 2003, it took on the Arcadia group – the company behind high street brands including Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – as it tried to get the roundel registered as a trademark for RAF-related clothing.

A4U came under fire last month after MSP hopefuls from the party engaged in sustained attempts to paint the SNP as “Nazis” and Nicola Sturgeon as a “fascist dictator”.

READ MORE: Alliance for Unity MSP hopeful shares 'Nicola Sturgeon a fascist dictator’ post

The slurs included one Holyrood candidate affiliated with the party promoting suggestions the SNP will make Unionists wear a “badge to identify them”, like “another nationalist party”. 

Galloway had also been promoting falsehoods about connections between the SNP and Nazis. In December last year, he tweeted a debunked conspiracy theory that the SNP had taken their logo from a rune meaning “blood and family” which has been widely used by Nazis and neo-Nazis. The SNP’s logo is a stylised combination of a Saltire and a thistle.

David Griffiths, A4U’s candidate on the West of Scotland list, retweeted a post which claimed Nicola Sturgeon is a “fascist dictator destroying our freedoms”. Elsewhere, he has engaged with the idea that under the SNP, Scotland is “moving towards a nationalist fascist state faster than Germany did in the 1930s”.