THE SNP have cause to raise concerns with the Electoral Commission over the impact of a “fascist” fringe party on Scottish elections, Professor John Curtice has said.

The eminent political expert, who teaches at Strathclyde University, spoke to The National about concerns raised by the Scottish Greens around the “Independent Green Voice” (IGV).

Founded by Alistair McConnachie – a Holocaust-denier who was kicked out of Ukip for his extremist views – IGV uses a leaf and the words Independent Green Voice on ballot papers after the Electoral Commission approved a change in early 2021.

READ MORE: Electoral Commission 'letting Holocaust-denier disrupt Scottish elections'

McConnachie used the IGV branding in the recent Hillhead by-election in Glasgow, and Greens have raised concerns that he is looking to sow “confusion” and rob them of votes with a “fascist front”.

“He's just there to disrupt, where he can, potential for any Scottish Green politicians to win,” councillor Anthony Carroll told The National, adding: “The Electoral Commission is actually letting him do it at this point.”

Carroll pointed to the data from the Hillhead by-election as evidence that IGV was succeeding in an attempt to dupe voters, as the party won a seemingly disproportionate number of second preferences from SNP and Green voters.

The National: Graphic from Ballot Box Scotland showing second preference votes in the Glasgow Hillhead by-electionGraphic from Ballot Box Scotland showing second preference votes in the Glasgow Hillhead by-election (Image: Ballot Box Scotland)

Asked if it was compelling evidence that IGV was disrupting the vote, Curtice said: “I’d put it like this, I can see why somebody might think that it supports their case.

“In so far as that might be thought to be true, it could be argued that the SNP have as much to be unhappy about as the Greens.”

Asked to explain, he said: “Because, of the 146 people whose ballots were transferred when [IGV were knocked out of the running under the single-transferable vote system], 55 went to the Greens, 37 went to the SNP.”

Curtice went on: “I grant that you would expect people who are aware of Mr McConnachie's position to switch to the Tories, who were still in the count at this stage, but only seven ballots went in that direction.

“So, the point is that it isn't just the word ‘green’ that appears in his affiliation, it's also the word ‘independent’.

“I can see why they might – why both parties [SNP and Greens] might want to go to the Electoral Commission and say ‘hang on’.”

The Greens argue that IGV’s vote share far exceeds what you might expect from a party that didn’t run a ground campaign.

Asked if this was the case, Curtice said: “Well, he beat the Liberal Democrat, in Hillhead, you know.

“I know it's not the Hillhead that was the centre of a once-upon-a-time Liberal Democrat parliamentary seat, but he still managed to beat the Liberal Democrats.

“I suppose you can say that's evidence of confusion.”

READ MORE: 'Fascist front' party hits out at Greens and denies global warming in bizarre livestream

Curtice added: “What I am willing to say to you is I can see why the Greens and perhaps the SNP might wish to draw the attention of the Electoral Commission to this particular result.”

Asked if they would be taking a fresh look at the impact of IGV on Scottish elections given the new evidence from the Hillhead by-election, the Electoral Commission remained intransigent.

A spokesperson said: “We approved an application from Independent Green Voice to register this emblem in March 2021. The application was subject to a detailed assessment against the statutory criteria, including the requirement that voters would not likely be confused with another party’s emblem, as a result of how their emblem looks on a ballot paper.

“The emblem includes the full party name and is visually different to any other already registered emblem.

“The application was published on our website for public scrutiny and comment. Any comments we receive are given careful consideration before a decision is made. No comments were received in relation to this application.”

Despite the Electoral Commission’s comment, the National has previously reported how hundreds of people complained in the wake of the 2021 Holyrood election about IGV’s name and logo misleading voters.

Attempts to contact IGV for comment were unsuccessful.