Scotland politics

UKIP in Scotland 'close to all-out civil war'

David Melville
Image caption Alan Melville wants a change of leadership in the party in Scotland

A leading UKIP candidate has said the party in Scotland is close to "all-out civil war".

Alan Melville, who tops UKIP's Lothian list, wants a change of leadership.

The party leader in Scotland, David Coburn, has dismissed the criticism as "a lot of tosh".

West of Scotland candidate Robert Malyn quit on Sunday. Two months ago, 10 senior activists wrote to the party's headquarters demanding a new spokesman in Scotland.

UKIP's leader Nigel Farage said they were "jealous" not to have been selected as candidates.

Now, Alan Melville has echoed their concerns.

He said a leadership change was the "only way to save the party".

'Deliberate sabotage'

Mr Melville added: "The ongoing allegations of personal bias and the bypassing of independent assessment remain extremely damaging to David personally and to the wider party.

"Waffle about 'disappointed candidates' and 'jealousy' do not hold water when you consider the abilities of those candidates not selected when compared to many of those in high position.

"Combined with rumours of deliberate sabotage of 'unfavoured' candidates' campaigns such as the withholding of party campaign materials from 'rebel' branches, including my own Edinburgh branch, there can be no doubt that the party in Scotland stands on the brink of disintegration and all-out civil war.

Image copyright PA
Image caption David Coburn - an MEP - is Scotland's only elected UKIP politician

"This would be a tragedy for UKIP, for the EU-sceptic movement in Scotland, and for the Scottish people.

"Holyrood has almost no proper opposition to the pro-EU position of its party leaders, nor to its nanny-state default bias.

"This has resulted in ever-extending petty - and not so petty - authoritarianism at all levels of government in Scotland, culminating in the appalling Named Person Scheme and in the SNP's stated desire to abolish the ancient principle of corroboration from Scots law.

"A libertarian party such as UKIP would make a powerful and vocal counterweight to the consensus but it now appears that senior elements within the party have placed their own interests above that vital duty."

'Radical party'

David Coburn said Mr Melville seemed "bitter and twisted" and questioned his suitability to remain as a candidate.

He told BBC Scotland's Call Kaye programme: "We've got about seven people out of a thousand who are grumpy, who didn't make the grade and didn't get where they wanted.

"There are some people in the party who don't like the party being modernised.

"I am radical. I want to see UKIP in Scotland as a radical party, not a stick-in-the-mud, stodgy sort of affair."

A UKIP spokesman said: "Mr Melville has had months to raise any concerns he may have but he has remained silent until four days before the election.

"I think that's a sign that he is trying his best to damage the party rather than air any genuine concerns, at a time that he should really be telling the public what he can do for them if they elect him.

"He is clearly one of the very small bitter and twisted gang, which is a shame for him, as he will miss out on UKIP moving forward and making the successes we will achieve this year and in future."

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