Scotland politics

Coburn 'would consider UKIP leadership'

David Coburn Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Coburn is UKIP's only elected representative in Scotland

UKIP's Scottish MEP David Coburn has told the BBC he would "do his best" if colleagues asked him to stand for the party's leadership.

UKIP is looking for a new leader following the shock resignation of Diane James, who had succeeded Nigel Farage after the EU referendum.

MEP Steven Woolfe, who had been seen as the frontrunner, quit the party on Monday.

He had been hospitalised after a "scuffle" with fellow MEP Mike Hookem.

Speaking to the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Coburn denied Mr Woolfe's claim that UKIP was in a "death spiral" and had become ungovernable.

He said the incident between Mr Woolfe and Mr Hookem had been "regrettable" but had involved only two people rather than the whole party.

Mr Woolfe has stood by his claim that he "received a blow" from Mr Hookem, though this has been denied by Mr Hookem.

Mr Coburn said: "I keep saying it is country, party and self last. It is ideas that count, not individuals. What we are looking for is an agenda for the future, we are publishing it now and that is how we are moving forward.

"Can I lead the party? Well, if I were asked by colleagues then of course I would do my best. But the thing is it is not about who is governing, it is to do with getting a group of people together, a collegiate group of people, who are going to run the thing."

Image copyright UKIP
Image caption Steven Woolfe spent three days in hospital following an altercation with a colleague in the European Parliament

Mr Coburn said the party's libertarian politics meant people "can't be told what to do" but called on party members to "govern their own emotions and govern their own behaviour".

He added: "What has happened is that we have had a charismatic leader for many years, who has kept a lid on things.

"Now what you have got is you've got to choose a new leader. In that, you've lifted the lid off things a bit and it bubbles over."

'Radical change'

Mr Coburn, who is UKIP's only elected representative in Scotland, insisted there was still a reason for the party to exist despite achieving its core aim of having the UK leave the EU.

He said he wanted to ensure the country was run "in the interests of the people not in the interests of big business or trade unions" and that he had joined UKIP because he wanted "radical change" to the way the country was governed, not just because he wanted to leave the EU.

And he said he would "certainly not" be supporting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's attempts to keep Scotland in the EU single market after Brexit.

Mr Coburn insisted: "We decided during the Scottish referendum on independence that we are part of the United Kingdom and in terms of that we voted in the European referendum, that was as a United Kingdom.

"We entered as a United Kingdom, we leave as a United Kingdom. We voted as a United Kingdom, everybody knew that beforehand."

Nominations to replace Ms James as UKIP leader close on 31 October, with the new leader announced on 28 November.