SCOTLAND’S Ukip MEP has been branded “shameful” after refusing to quit the party over its association with controversial figure Tommy Robinson.

Last week Ukip’s leader Gerard Batten hired Robinson as an advisor on grooming gangs and prison.

Yesterday morning, Patrick O’Flynn, Ukip’s former economics spokesman quit in protest.

He became the third MEP to leave the party in two months.

David Coburn called the row a “distraction” from Brexit.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, founded the far-right English Defence League, and has multiple convictions, including assault and mortgage fraud.

The National:

His appointment infuriated Nigel Farage, who has called for a vote of no-confidence in Batten.

In a resignation statement on his website, O’Flynn accused Batten of pushing the party to the right.

“Without any mandate from the membership or the party’s elected ruling body to go down this path, Gerard is transforming what Ukip stands for and offers to voters. Many long standing party members have already left as a result.”

Batten, who became Ukip leader in February has described Islam as “a death cult” and proposed policies including screening of immigrants from Islamic countries, and Muslim-only prisons.

Coburn said he wouldn’t be “getting involved in any private squabbling.”

“Gerard does seem very keen on him, yes,” he told The National, adding “We’re a happy band of various different political hues”.

Asked if he was comfortable being associated with Robinson, Coburn replied: “I’m not associated with anybody.”

He added: “The Queen’s associated with the British government, but that doesn’t mean to say she voted for Mrs May, did she?

“There are some things he’s been fighting for or highlighting that needed highlighting but he’s not someone I know particularly well or sort of get involved with. It’s not my sort of thing,

“I spoke when he was being banged up for the wrong things, freedom of speech issues, I believe I’d do the same thing for George Galloway or for Jeremy Corbyn if someone had locked him up, and I thought it was the wrong thing to do.”

The MEP said he had “no intention of going anywhere.”

“I was elected as a Ukip members for the European Parliament and that’s what I am. So, there we are.”

Labour MEP Catherine Stihler was shocked by Coburn’s indifference: “Tommy Robinson’s hatred and prejudices have no place in our society.

“It’s disgusting that Ukip has hired him as an adviser, and if David Coburn had any shred of decency he would join his colleagues in resigning from the party. His comments suggest he is indifferent to Robinson’s involvement, which is shameful.”

The National:

The SNP MEP Alyn Smith said he wasn’t surprised: “David Coburn is right he’s not associated with anyone, he’s not associated with reality nor the people of Scotland if he can’t see that being in the same organisation as this odious individual is an appalling lapse of judgment.

“Sadly I’ve come to expect nothing more of him, it would be a joke if it wasn’t such a crying shame he’s taking up space that could be used by someone to actually put in a shift for Scotland.”

Robinson is expected in Edinburgh this weekend, at the Hearts v Rangers game. Yesterday fan groups launched a campaign to “Kick Tommy Out”.

Luke Henderson of Unite Against Fascism said the only people who want Robinson involved in Scottish football were “racists.”