For­mer Ukip leader quits over Tommy Robinson

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Ukip MEP and for­mer leader Paul Nut­tall has quit the party in protest at Tommy Robinson be­ing ap­pointed as an ad­viser.

Mr Nut­tall is the lat­est prom­i­nent fig­ure to leave Ukip com­plain­ing of the di­rec­tion it has taken un­der leader Ger­ard Bat­ten.

Mr Bat­ten has drawn crit­i­cism for ap­point­ing po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist and English De­fence League (EDL) founder Mr Robinson as an ad­viser on rape gangs and prison re­form.

Mr Nut­tall said: “I am re­sign­ing be­cause the party is be­ing taken in a di­rec­tion which I be­lieve is harm­ful to Brexit.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion with Tommy Robinson will sim­ply ap­pal many mod­er­ate Brexit vot­ers and in­evitably be detri­men­tal to the cause.

“The Tommy Robinson is­sue should have been shelved and de­bated within the party fol­low­ing Brexit, in line with the sen­si­ble de­ci­sion taken by the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee last month.

“The party lead­er­ship and my MEP col­leagues have been aware of my views on this is­sue for some time.

“Putting Tommy Robinson front and cen­tre, whilst Brexit is in the process of be­ing be­trayed is, in my view, a cat­a­strophic er­ror.

“To con­flate Brexit and Robinson at this cru­cial mo­ment is to put the Euroscep­tic cause in dan­ger and I can­not and will not be party to that.”

The move came as Ukip’s leader in Scot­land, MEP David Coburn, also re­signed in protest at the “English na­tion­al­ist di­rec­tion” adopted by the party.

Mr Coburn also ac­cused the party of pro­mot­ing an­tiIs­lamic poli­cies.

Writ­ing in a let­ter to the Ukip party chair­man and the chair of the party in Scot­land, Mr Coburn said: “As a union­ist, I ab­hor English na­tion­al­ism as much as I ab­hor Scot­tish na­tion­al­ism.

“The party has been in­fil­trated by peo­ple with an al­ter­na­tive agenda, which is not the one on which I stood when I was elected and sadly does not rep­re­sent the val­ues for which Ukip once stood.”

‘RE­SOLVE’: John McDon­nell said a Peo­ple’s Vote would be needed to bring a res­o­lu­tion to Brexit

Paul Nut­tall

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