A FRESH voice from the centre right will be added to the Yes movement when a new pro-independence political party formally launches later this week.

The Scottish Libertarian Party (SLP) is led by businessman Alan Finlay and is planning to field candidates in all eight regions at next year’s Holyrood elections.

As well as being pro-Scottish independence, the party has an agenda supporting further reform of the welfare state, low taxation and public spending and low regulation for businesses. It is also strongly in favour of an EU exit.

It is inspired by the work of US politician Ron Paul, a former Republican congressman and the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in the 1988 US presidential election.

Other key policies include the decriminalisation of the use of cannabis, lifting legal restrictions on sex workers and combating the surveillance of individuals by the authorities.

The party is holding a public launch event on Thursday evening at Strathclyde University when sex worker Charlotte Rose will put the case for decriminalising the sex industry and Dr Stephen Davies from the Institute of Economic Affairs will also speak.

David Craig Ballantine, a Glasgow-based stockbroker and the party’s director of communications, said the SLP stands for the empowerment of the individual and is opposed to a large, centralising state. He denied the party was on the right of the political spectrum.

“We back the case for Scottish independence as we believe in bringing power closer to the individual. We are opposed to large multi-national states as we have in the UK and also in Europe,” he said.

“We are not a right-wing party, we cover the full shade of the political spectrum. We do believe in a small state, but we also believe in campaigning for changes in the law on social issues. We are in favour of decriminalising cannabis use, for instance, and are strongly in favour of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”

He added: “The SLP is pro-independence, though we would advocate a very different independence to the pro-EU pseudo independence advocated by the SNP. The current welfare state doesn’t work. Since the early part of the 20th century, the creep of the state has intruded into the lives of those most vulnerable more than any other group."

He went on: “The SLP propose to help the working poor by getting the state out of their lives, by eliminating income tax for the lowest paid, and improving flexibility in spending. The SLP plan to allow all local authorities to set whatever tax policy they wish and allow local authorities who have similar tax policies to combine with other local authorities and work together for tax collection and revenue policy. Local authorities will raise all their required taxation to cover their budget.”

The party is also in favour of the reintroduction of the right-to-buy to allow those on low incomes to get on to the property ladder.

Politics expert Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, said the formation of the SLP was an interesting political development and echoed some of the views put forward by Tory MSP Murdo Fraser when he campaigned to be Conservative leader in Scotland.

However, Curtice said he doubted whether its “small state, low public spending agenda” would gain significant support.

“It sounds like a full blooded right-of-centre party and it certainly has a valid point of view. There will be people who agree with its principles,” he said.

“There is certainly potentially room in Scotland for a centre-right nationalist party, that was after all Murdo Fraser’s project. Is it going to get very far? I would be doubtful. I don’t think there is a huge amount of support for low public spending, either in Scotland or the rest of the UK. Look at George Osborne’s statement last week which ruled out cutting spending on health and on schools.”

A spokesman for he radical left alliance, Rise, said: “There is a market for right-wing ideas in Scotland. But the record of the Tories in Scotland in the last 20 or 30 years suggests it’s a pretty small market.

“I don’t think the SLP will be competing with Rise for voters. They will be trying to take votes off the Tories and Ukip.”