AS he talks about “country first, party second, self last”, you get the distinct impression David Coburn sees it as his duty to stand for the leadership of Ukip.

Whether the party’s embattled executive will appreciate such apparent selflessness by its Scottish leader, who failed to persuade voters north of the Border of the case for leaving the European Union in June’s referendum, remains to be seen, of course.

Stranger things have happened, however. And since the frontrunner Steven Woolfe abandoned Ukip earlier this week calling the party “ungovernable”, after Diane James lasted just 18 days in the job, the prospect of Coburn throwing his hat in the ring is realistic to say the least.

Read more: Scotland will be 'half way out of EU' before a vote on independence

“If I am asked to stand by my colleagues I will definitely do it,” the 57-year-old MEP tells me over the phone from Brussels. “We must get the right person this time. The more measured among us are talking about who is the best person to lead the party going forward. We obviously don’t want anyone too excitable.”

‘Measured’ probably isn’t the word some Ukip activists in Scotland, who demanded Coburn’s resignation in the run up to this year’s Holyrood elections following a string of controversies, would use to describe the Glaswegian. In 2015, he was criticised for comparing to Scottish government minister Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza.

But how does the party’s sole elected representative in Scotland explain the current disarray in Ukip? Lest we forget that Woolfe left after collapsing following an altercation in Brussels with fellow party MEP Mike Hookem that left him in hospital for four days. Hookem has denied punching Woolfe and the fracas is still being investigated by the party.

“Look, we’re free thinkers,” counters Coburn. “We’re not like the Conservatives or Labour where you are told what to do and if you step out of line something horrible happens to you.

“And we’re not an authoritarian party like the SNP. But that means we’re not polished politicians like the others. We’re ordinary people. We behave like ordinary people - the good and bad bits. We’re not smoothies, we’re libertarians. Nigel Farage was a strong leader for years – lifting the lid off is bound to get people excited.”

Read more: Scotland will be 'half way out of EU' before a vote on independence

He scoffs at my suggestion that being a Scot might hold back his leadership ambitions in what is essentially an English party. “Nonsense,” he laughs. “Ukip is first and foremost a unionist party – a British unionist party.”

And, despite the current power vacuum at the top of Ukip, Coburn is keen to focus on the party’s recent achievements – not least the Brexit vote. “We’re the only politicians who can say we have delivered exactly what we promised people,” he insists.

“We overthrew the British government, the opposition and the European Union – that’s pretty spectacular.”

But what of the future direction of the party? What would be the priorities for the Coburn leadership? Unsurprisingly, holding Theresa May’s feet to the fire is up there – “I want to keep the cutlass in the small of the prime minister’s back and making sure she walks off the end of the plank to Brexit" – as is immigration.

Coburn insists he is not against immigration – “we want good people to come to our country” – but says those who do must integrate into “British culture” calling multi-culturalism “a disaster”.

“We don’t want the mess they have in Paris where there are thousands of unhappy people who have immigrated to France, don’t have a job, haven’t integrated into society and don’t feel part of France.” he explains. “We don’t want multiculturalism – we want one culture. Multi-culturalism has been a disaster. It’s has led to apartheid. We want people to come to this country and be British.”

On the question of a second independence referendum for Scotland, meanwhile, Coburn is unequivocal, saying the question of independence “has been decided – we [Scots] are British and that’s it”.

Read more: Scotland will be 'half way out of EU' before a vote on independence

And he accuses First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – whom he previously referred to as “Helmet hairdo” of “peddling nonsense” by suggesting Scotland may be able to secure a deal to remain within both the UK and the EU.

“She [Nicola Sturgeon] went on a grand tour of Europe,” he says. “I had a coffee with Martin Schulz [president of the European Parliament] – a very decent chap who does the best he can. He told me he received her as he would receive the prime ministers of any of the German states - out of courtesy.

“[He said] Scotland must leave the EU with the rest of the UK, there is no other deal that could possibly be done. She’s peddling nonsense on stilts.”

Whether Coburn’s platform is likely to appeal to senior figures within the Ukip executive – and indeed the grassroots membership – will only become clear in the weeks ahead.