Gay UKIP MEP: Calling SNP minister Abu Hamza was a ‘stupid thing to say’
UKIP MEP David Coburn says he has apologised for comparing a Scottish government minister to a convicted terrorist.
David Coburn, who is UKIP’s leader in Scotland and the party’s most senior gay politician, allegedly made the controversial remarks about Muslim MSP Humza Yousaf, who is Scottish Minister for Europe and International Development, earlier this month.
In a newspaper interview, Mr Coburn is alleged to have said: “Humza Yousaf, or as I call him, Abu Hamza”.
Despite issuing a lengthy apology to Mr Yousaf, Mr Coburn appeared to dismiss the row, telling the Scottish Sunday Mail: “It’s all bollocks.”
On Tuesday, UKIP leader Nigel Farage ruled out disciplining the MEP, saying: “I haven’t spoken to David Coburn about it. I can only guess he’s either saying he’s a terrorist or he’s telling a joke in poor taste. I suspect it’s a joke in poor taste.
When asked if he would be taking action against Mr Coburn he said: “People do make mistakes. I don’t think David Coburn should have done that. But am I going to get terribly exercised about it? No.”
Today, Mr Coburn attempted a more sincere apology. In a comment to BBC Scotland he said: “I’ve apologised profusely for it. It was a stupid thing to say. It was an inappropriate joke.”
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UKIP MP Douglas Carswell condemned the remarks while speaking on the BBC’s HARDtalk programme earlier this week.
He said: “I don’t defend the comments made by the Scottish UKIP MEP at all. They were disgraceful comments to make and I have no truck with those comments.”
Despite being gay, Mr Coburn is notorious for his critical remarks of the LGBT community.
In October last year, he branded supporters of same-sex marriage “equality Nazis”.
He has previously claimed that “neo-right” activists are to blame for same-sex marriage, which he says “breeds” homophobia.