SCOTTISH Ukip MEP David Coburn has clashed with critics over “Islamophobic” remarks about an SNP Muslim MSP, accusing the Nationalists of “xenophobia.”
The clash came as panelists in a Scottish debate in Columba’s Church in London condemned the participation of Mr Coburn after comments comparing Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza.
SNP Perth MP Pete Wishart said he was “disappointed” that Mr Coburn is “still a representative of Scottish public life.”
He claimed that Coburn represents “the racist politics of Ukip.”
He added: “You can’t vote SNP here but I plead with you to vote for anybody other than this racist party.”
Labour shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran said Mr Coburn represented the “vileness” of Ukip and called on Nigel Farage to sack him.
“David Coburn’s Islamophobic insult has caused serious offence and anger to the Muslim community in Scotland, the UK and further afield. It is not acceptable and action must be taken”Humza Yousaf
She said that it was wrong for “anyone in public life in Scotland to speak in that way.”
Mr Coburn said he had not spoken to his party leader, Nigel Farage, about GIS comments.
“Nigel is busy and so am I,” he said.
He went on: “It was a bad joke, I made a mistake and I have apologised. I am only human I am not a professional politician.”
With Mr Wishart heckling him, Mr Coburn hit back by saying: “It’s a bit rich from a party which has a large number of people who are xenophobic towards the English.”
Earlier today, Mr Farage said he wouldn’t be taking action against Mr Coburn for the remarks.
Mr Farage today branded the remarks a “poor taste” joke, and said he was not “terribly exercised” about the row.
On BBC2’s Daily Politics Mr Farage said: “I have not spoken to David Coburn about it. I can only guess he is either saying he is a terrorist or he is telling a joke in poor taste. I suspect it’s the latter, he is telling a joke in poor taste.”
He added: “People do make mistakes and I don’t think David Coburn should have done that. But am I going to get terribly exercised over it? No.”
Scotland’s five other MEPs from across the political spectrum have also written to Mr Schulz backing Mr Yousaf’s call for an investigation.
Mr Yousaf said: “The abhorrent remarks made by David Coburn were an absolute disgrace that would not be acceptable for any individual to make, let alone an elected member of the European Parliament.
“The European Union rightly prides itself on its promotion of tolerance and inclusion - something David Coburn’s remarks are completely at odds with.
“David Coburn’s Islamophobic insult has caused serious offence and anger to the Muslim community in Scotland, the UK and further afield. It is not acceptable and action must be taken.
“Bigotry of the kind displayed by David Coburn should not be tolerated and I hope that the European Parliament will send out a strong message by taking action against him.”
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