DAVID Coburn has been accused of hypocrisy after he quit Ukip because the party is now too “anti-Islam”.

The Scottish MEP, who three years ago compared Scottish minister Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza, was one of a slew of elected representatives resigning in protest at the decision of new leader Gerard Batten to hire Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League.

At least 15 Ukip MEPs, including former leaders Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall have now walked away, and at one point yesterday, Batten was unable to say exactly how many MEPs he had left.

In his statement, Coburn said Ukip had been “infiltrated by people with an alternative agenda, which is not the one I stood when I was elected and sadly does not represent the values for which Ukip once stood.”

He added: “I did not run on an anti-Islam platform. Unfortunately this seems to be the direction Ukip is taking – obsessing about this issue to the exclusion of all else at a time when we might lose the Brexit we fought so hard for.”

Coburn said that though he had defended Robinson after the ex-convict was jailed for contempt of court, that didn’t mean he agreed with his far-right politics.

“I spoke up for the rights of Tommy Robinson, on principle, when he was imprisoned in what I viewed as a potential injustice; as I would do for any individual, of any political persuasion. However this does not mean I support his politics or that Ukip should adopt them.”

The National:

'Chancer': Alyn Smith stuck the boot in to David Coburn

SNP MEP Alyn Smith described Coburn’s position as “absurd”.

He told The National: “I’m glad Coburn has embraced independence.

“Without the shackles of the legendary Ukip iron party discipline he’ll be a force of nature. Like an unpleasant wind.

“Ukip now has no elected politicians in Scotland, just this sad chancer lingering on like the last unwelcome guest at the office night out.

“He is a no-mark blowhard in Brussels, and for him to claim now that he is leaving the busted flush that he has made Ukip over Islamophobia is as absurd as he is. From the man who compared one of our ministers to a terrorist as if it were some sort of joke and just last week didn’t care about Tommy Robinson’s appointment I think we can put his latest tantrum in context.”

In his statement, Nuttall, who sits in the European Parliament as an MEP for North West England, claimed UKIP was “being taken in a direction which I believe is harmful to Brexit”.

He 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.”

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

Nuttall led Ukip between November 2016 and June 2017, but his time in charge was a disaster for the party.

On his website and social media he said he had played football for Tranmere Rovers, that he had a PhD and that he’d lost close friends in the Hillsborough disaster. None of those claims were true.

Under his leadership Ukip won less than 600,000 votes at last year’s General Election.

Batten defended his changes to the party: “It’s not far right. I’ve spent 26 years in a democratic party working to restore Britain’s status as an independent democratic state. That doesn’t make me far right.”

Two weeks ago, Coburn told this paper he wouldn’t be quitting and denied he was associated with Robinson, saying: “The Queen’s associated with the British Government, doesn’t mean to say she voted for Mrs May”.