UKIP’s David Coburn ‘facing coup’ from activists over string of gaffes
Activists are calling for UKIP’s most senior openly gay official to be sacked over his “dysfunctional” performance and a string of offensive gaffes.
David Coburn leads the UK Independence Party in Scotland – but has failed to make in-roads in the country, despite strong support for UKIP in England and Wales.
The MEP was forced to deny being racist last year after comparing Scottish government minister Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza. He also compared then-SNP leader Alex Salmond to dictator Robert Mugabe.
Despite being gay, the politician is a fierce critic of the gay rights movement, regularly claiming that same-sex marriage supporters are “equality Nazis” – and that the Lib Dems and Labour want to ban him from having sex.
In the run-up to the Scottish elections, Mr Coburn has blamed the EU for his broken toaster and launched a manifesto pledging to make ‘political correctness’ in schools illegal.
Throughout all of the above, the UKIP leadership has stood by Mr Coburn and ruled out a replacement – but the party’s own activists have now called for him to be ousted.
According to the BBC, ten senior activists including the chairs of five local branches wrote to UKIP party chairman Steve Crowther to raise concerns about Mr Coburn.
The letter says he is “not suited to being the Scottish face of the Brexit campaign” and hit out at a string of “major public gaffes”.
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It reads: “We propose that the party conduct tests of our Scottish lead list candidates’ abilities in debate and on television generally, and appoint the best performer as our Scottish spokesman.
“Meanwhile, David should concentrate on what he does best – charming people and making friends on a one-to-one basis.”
Mr Coburn branded the letter “nonsense”.
He wrote: “None of the 10 disgruntled people are SP16 candidates therefore appears selection process worked extremely well.
“10 disgruntled people out of more than 1000 members represents 1% in fact 0.5% as half of them have left.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage dismissed the criticism, noting that Mr Coburn “just occasionally says things that perhaps he might regret later”.