A prominent Scots-based UKIP candidate has quit the party claiming it is riddled with religious bigotry and racism north of the border.

Jonathan Stanley, who has contested elections in his home city of Edinburgh and was until recently the party's head of policy in Scotland, said: "This sectarian and racist filth in Scotland needs cleaning up. It is a great threat to the Eurosceptic cause and civil society."

The surgeon had been UKIP's Westminster candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale in Cumbria.

His decision comes after a tumultuous week for the party in Scotland with it sole elected representative, MEP David Coburn, under fire for comparing a Scottish Government minister with convicted terrorist Abu Hamza.

Following allegations he also deliberately mispronounced another Asian SNP member's name he was branded an "ignorant racist" by Glasgow Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson and even condemned by UKIP's first MP Douglas Carswell.

He added: "I have given my full resignation to the party because of the issues happening in Scotland. If I can't represent the party I need to leave it. I am standing back from this now. Let other candidates get on with it.

"I would have been representing the UK in the UK Parliament. That needs to be for a party that tackles sectarianism and racism across the UK.

"The people deserve a candidate who is either an independent of committed to the party. It is more honest if I resign."

Last year Mr Stanley referred UKIP's Scottish chairman to a leading anti-sectarianism charity after he described Glasgow City Council as being for "gays, Catholics and Communists".

Mr Stanley, who was also UKIP treasurer in Scotland, said he had asked Arthur Thackeray to engage with Nil By Mouth on the back of the bigotry row.

Mr Thackeray had also said Catholicism was based on fascist ideology and complained of a "suffocating culture of anti-loyalism" in Glasgow.

At the time the party's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) section also urged Mr Thackeray to "reconsider his role and membership within Ukip" if he was opposed to gay people as a section of the population.

Mr Thackeray did not take up the offer to meet with Nil By Mouth.

He told The Herald: "It is just sad to see that the rot has set on so far and is supported by too many.

"For all that happened in Ulster I couldn't live with myself seeing any of that Established here. The best way for Ulster to move forward is by showing this kind of divisive filth doesn't have a home anywhere on these islands. I have a little girl and want to see her grow up in a happy land.

"This is my closing remark on the matter in Scotland. This is a matter of individuals in UKIP and not the party as a whole."

Colin Rudd, UKIP agent on Cumbria, said the move was a "bit of a disappointment" less than two month before the election. He admitted it was a blow a month and a half before the May 7 election.

Mr Stanley also cited issues with UKIP's MEPs in the north of England and the party's handling of health issues.

He added: "The people of the seat deserve a candidate who either starts as an independent or is committed to a party; it is more honest to resign."