Is the shine coming off Nigel Farage?

Nigel Farage is having another difficult day, after a lost deposit in a Scottish by-election combined with reports of his use of a tax haven to ruin the Ukip leader's weekend.

The MEP, who has previously spoken out against tax evaders in the European parliament, admitted paying a tax adviser to set up the Farage Family Educational Trust 1654 on the Isle of Man, the Daily Mirror reported.

"My financial advisers recommended I did it, to have a trust really for inheritance purposes and I took the advice and I set it up," he told the newspaper.

"It was a mistake. I was a completely unsuitable person for it. I am not blaming them, it was my fault.

"It's a vehicle that you chuck things in through your life that you don't need and you build up a trust fund for your children or grandchildren.

"It was called an educational trust and could have been used for grandchildren's schools fees, things like that.

"It was a mistake for three reasons. Firstly, I'm not rich enough to need one and I am never going to be. Secondly, frankly, the world has changed. Things that we thought were absolutely fair practice 10 years, 20 years ago, 30 years ago aren't any more. Thirdly, it was a mistake because it cost me money. I sent a cheque off to set it up."

The row comes as Ukip reels from another electoral blow in Scotland, where it is struggling to get any traction at all.

The Scottish National party (SNP) won the Aberdeen Donside by-election with a substantially reduced majority, but Ukip failed to retain its deposit.

"They have never saved a single deposit in Scotland, which once again demonstrates a clear divergence between Scottish and Westminster politics," Alex Salmond commented.

The electoral drubbing came after another tortured trip to Scotland for the Ukip leader, who was forced to abandon a meeting with Aberdeen Council deputy leader Marie Boulton when anti-fascist demonstrators gathered outside the building.

Senior Ukip member David Coburn was soaked with a fizzy drink by demonstrators outside a pub in Aberdeen.

A press conference in the Marriott Hotel, Dyce, also had to be cancelled amid fears of more protests.

The trip came just a month after Farage had to hole himself up in a Scottish pub to escape angry protestors, who called him "scum" and a "racist".

Recent polling has suggested an end to the Ukip surge, with the party losing a third of its support and falling back to level with the Liberal Democrats.

The ICM poll for the Guardian put the party on 12%, down from 18% – although that is still three points above its previous high.