UKIP candidate David Coburn refuses to quit Falkirk election race

UKIP MEP David Coburn is standing in the Falkirk constituency at the General Election on May 7. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
UKIP MEP David Coburn is standing in the Falkirk constituency at the General Election on May 7. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

A UKIP politician aiming to become Falkirk’s next MP has ignored calls to quit following remarks he made about a Muslim MSP.

David Coburn compared Scottish Government minister Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza during an interview with a national newspaper.

This isn’t the first time Mr Coburn has made grossly insulting comments that can be construed as thinly veiled racism

John McNally, SNP candidate for Falkirk

The 56-year-old, who is already a member of the European Parliament, reportedly said: “Humza Yousaf, or as I call him Abu Hamza”.

Coburn said it was a “slip of the tongue” and has apologised.

Mr Yousaf accused him of Islamophobia and called for him to stand down as an MEP.

Denny councillor John McNally, who will stand against Coburn in May’s General Election as SNP candidate, said he should also quit the campaign to replace Eric Joyce as MP for Falkirk.

“This isn’t the first time Mr Coburn has made grossly insulting comments that can be construed as thinly veiled racism,” he said. “He is an embarrassment to Scotland with no interest in and no connection with this constituency.

“UKIP are a party that has nothing in common with traditional Scottish values and their announcement of their intention to cut a further £8 billion from the Scottish budget confirms the belief they are to right wing even for the Conservative Party.”

The Labour candidate for Falkirk, Karen Whitefield, said: “These comments are offensive and if UKIP have any sense of decency they will sack David Coburn and make clear that there is no place for racism or Islamophobia in Scottish politics.

“David Coburn is unfit to hold public office.”

A UKIP spokesman told The Falkirk Herald: “There is absolutely no reason David Coburn should even consider resigning his position, this is a non-story from which all should move on.”

Arthur Misty Thackeray, chairman of UKIP’s Scottish branch, said: “Hamza (sic) really needs to develop a sense of humour and a thicker skin if he is going to be a politician.”