Some party members are '˜total tossers', says Ukip's David Coburn

The leader of Ukip in Scotland has described fellow members of his party as 'total tossers'.

Ukip's David Coburn. Picture: Ian Georgeson

David Coburn’s comments came as it was revealed that the party is demanding a £5,000 deposit from any member who wants to run to succeed Farage as party leader.

An email from Ukip’s chairman, Steve Crowther, said the nomination for anyone running to replace Farage “must be accompanied by a cheque or PayPal payment for £5,000, which shall be refunded upon polling at least five per cent of the vote”.

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It also warned members to remove any racist posts from their social media profiles if they wanted to stand for election.

The email said: “Please be aware that ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ anything by a Ukip proscribed party will result in a failed vetting status.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the proscribed parties and organisations are: British National Party; National Front; British Freedom Party; British People’s Party; English Defence League; Britain First; UK First Party.”

The Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens have all criticised Ukip’s “leadership levy”.

Discussing the deposit, Mr Coburn, Ukip’s leader in Scotland, said that some party members were “total tossers,” and insisted the financial “barrier” was necessary to ensure the right candidates stepped forward.

He also defended the £5,000 deposit, saying: “it can’t be that difficult to get that kind of money in this day and age”.

Green MSP Ross Greer, said: “It’s not surprising that Ukip would seek to take advantage of its wealthy and out-of-touch senior politicians and shut normal people out of the process. The outgoing leader worked as a trader in the City of London and its only MP plied his trade with an investment management company.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives described Ukip as “an utterly shambolic organisation”, adding: “It’s obviously up to Ukip how it wants to run its leadership campaign, but charging people £5,000 for the privilege is hardly going to open the contest up and increase competition.

Ukip members in Scotland have also attacked party chiefs for demanding a £5,000 deposit.

One party member said: “It just goes to shows that Ukip represents the disaffected Tories and not the ex-Labour working class that they say they represent. Not many members could afford £5,000 to put their name forward.”

Mr Coburn, Scotland’s only elected Ukip politician - who “considered standing” but is now backing Steven Woolfe for leader - dismissed the criticism.

He said: “I think it is more a question of choosing the right candidate. It’s quite simple, the reason we’ve got that barrier is because people have to be serious, not frivolous candidates.

“If anyone felt strongly enough they could ask their supporters for money. Nobody is being excluded. It can’t be that difficult to get that kind of money in this day and age. It’s not prohibitive or excluding anyone, it’s just making sure people are serious.”

One former Scottish branch chair, who is also backing English MEP Woolfe, said Mr Coburn should be removed as party leader in Scotland.

They said: “The few remaining Scottish members will demand that Woolfe, if successful, act immediately to end Coburn’s disastrous autocracy.

“Should Woolfe become party leader, let’s hope he has the self-confidence to mirror Theresa May, castigating the plainly toxic characters in one sweep.”

But Mr Coburn said: “In any party there are people who will say this rubbish. A lot of them have sneaked into the party from other parties. These are also people who didn’t get chosen for a seat. Perhaps they have an axe to grind.

“We’ve got some total tossers in our party who are only out for themselves.”