A WEST FIFER'S plan to set up a new political party has been hampered after the new group's name was deemed too similar to the Scottish National Party.

George Morton, from Rosyth, had written to the Electoral Commission to register the Fife National Party but was forced to return to the drawing board when the application was refused.

The EC said it believed "a reasonable voter" may confuse the proposed identity mark with the Scottish National Party.

"A proposed name cannot be registered if, in our opinion, voters are likely to confuse the party with another party already registered in the same part of the UK (ie in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland)," said a letter to Mr Morton.

"We took the view that a voter would likely confuse 'Fife National Party' with 'Scottish National Party (SNP)', registered for Scottish National Party (SNP).

"At either a constituency or regional contest in a Scottish Parliamentary election, a candidate can add the word ‘Scottish’ before their party’s name. This provision is stated in Scottish Parliament Elections Order Schedule 2, Rule 4 (7) and Rule 6 (3) and in the guidance on our website.

"Therefore, we must consider the proposed identity mark with the word ‘Scottish’ prior to the proposed party name for example, ‘Scottish Fife National Party’.

"We are of the view that ‘Scottish Fife National Party’ is likely to be confused with ‘Scottish National Party (SNP)’.

"The proposed identity mark includes three words which are included in the registered identity mark, ‘Scottish National Party (SNP)’. Therefore, in our view the proposed party name is similar to the registered identity mark."

Mr Morton said he now plans to re-apply and register the party as the Fife Independence Party.

"Our sole and immutable aim is independence for Fife, outside the EU," he explained. "Fife's population is some 370,000, far more than that of the UN members Liechtenstein, Andorra and San Marino.

"Why 'outside the EU'? Because we believe that free trade with anyone, anywhere, is a natural human right. The protectionist racket, aka the EU, with its thousands of tariffs ripping off consumers day-in, day-out, is the very antithesis of free trade.

"Many will regard our goal as laughable. But politics can move very fast nowadays; who expected the implosion of the USSR and other European ‘socialist’ states to happen so quickly?

"We invite you to think outside the box about decentralisation; until 1974 the SNP existed, but was a tiny party. Meanwhile, it has been Scotland's dominant force for many years. Mini and microstates are the future."