David Coburn hints at Ukip leadership bid

David Coburn. Picture: JP
David Coburn. Picture: JP
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Ukip’s Scottish leader, David Coburn, has said he would “do his best” if colleagues urged him to take the helm of the party after the leadership contest was thrown into fresh turmoil.

Steven Woolfe, the front-runner to replace Nigel Farage, dramatically ended his leadership campaign and resigned from the party, claiming it was “ungovernable” without Mr Farage at the helm.

Scottish MEP Mr Coburn conceded that, after Mr Farage stood down as leader, “you have lifted the lid off things a bit”.

But he said an altercation after tempers flared at a meeting of Ukip MEPs in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg, which led to Mr Woolfe being treated in hospital, was “regrettable” and “not something that should have happened”.

Mr Woolfe has stood by his claim that he ‘’received a blow’’ from Ukip MEP Mike Hookem during the fracas, though this has been denied by Mr Hookem.

Mr Coburn told BBC Radio Scotland: “We’re talking about two people - we’re not talking about an entire party, we’re not having brawls everywhere. Some emotions got a bit heightened and there you are, things happen.

“But in general the party is trying to find a new leader.”

{http://www.scotsman.com/1.4085984|READ MORE: Ukip’s David Coburn pranked by viewers during Periscope chat}

Speaking on the Good Morning programme, he said: “We had a charismatic leader for many years who has kept the lid on things and now what you’ve got is you have lifted the lid off things a bit and it bubbles over.

“We’re a libertarian party, which means we can’t be told what to do. People have to govern their own emotions and govern their own behaviour and that is never an easy thing to do.”

When asked if he would be putting himself forward, Mr Coburn, who is Ukip’s only elected representative in Scotland, said: “Can I lead the party? If I were asked by colleagues then of course I would do my best, but it’s not about who is governing, it’s to do with getting a group of people together, a collegiate group of people who are going to run the thing. That’s much more important.

“Politics is not about individuals, it’s about the collective; what we want is an agenda for the future.”

He also dismissed the suggestion by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland should be able to maintain access to the single market as part of the Brexit negotiations, after 62% of voters north of the border voted to remain in the European Union.

Ms Sturgeon has warned Prime Minister Theresa May that she could call a second independence referendum if the UK Government pursues a so-called “hard Brexit” which would leave Britain out of the free trade area.

Mr Coburn insisted: “We decided during the Scottish referendum on independence that we are part of the United Kingdom and in terms of that we voted in the European referendum, that was as a United Kingdom.

“We entered as a United Kingdom, we leave as a United Kingdom. We voted as a United Kingdom, everybody knew that beforehand.”

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