CHANGE UK’s lead Scottish candidate in the European elections has been accused of “letting down” his colleagues in the anti-Brexit party after he dramatically ended his candidacy and endorsed the Liberal Democrats.

David Macdonald announced he was ending his candidacy immediately as he urged voters to back the Lib Dems in a bid to keep Britain in the EU.

With the Lib Dems, SNP and Greens all campaigning on an anti-Brexit ticket in the May 23 ballot, Mr Macdonald fears the Remain vote in Scotland could be "diluted", giving Nigel Farage's Brexit Party the chance to get an MEP in Scotland.

Mr Macdonald, an independent councillor in East Renfrewshire, has written to MP Anna Soubry, a leading light in Change UK, renouncing his candidacy "without animosity or rancour".

He said he had campaigned "passionately" for Change UK over the last three weeks but noted: "I have made the decision at this course to stand down as a candidate for Change UK and voice my support for the Liberal Democrats."

And while he insisted Change UK could still be a "force for good" in politics, he added: "I have come to the point where I have realised I must do what is best for the future of this country before anything else."

Speaking outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Mr Macdonald explained: "For me it was just purely about the mathematics of this, we're looking at a very different political landscape in Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

"We have a much more diluted Remain vote in Scotland and it’s become very apparent close to these elections that we are in grave danger of splitting this vote and it is very clear to me now that we need to shore up the remain vote and get behind the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

"They are the force in politics in Scotland that are the clear voice for ending Brexit and for us remaining in the European Union."

He added: "There comes a point in politics where you realise you have go to do something for the greater good."

But Chukka Umunna for Change UK expressed disappointment at Mr Macdonald’s decision to pledge allegiance to another party. "He has let down his fellow candidates and activists," declared Mr Umunna.

"But," he stressed, "we are focusing all our efforts on adding to the Remain vote in the UK and challenging the pro-Brexit Tory, Brexit and Labour parties, which is why our leader challenged Nigel Farage to a live TV debate this week.”

The London MP and former Labour Shadow Business Secretary, pointed out how in the last 24 hours Labour's former head of campaigns for the north of England had come out in favour of Change UK as, he claimed, had “many former Labour voters”.

Mr Umunna added: “Winning voters over from the main parties and growing the Remain vote across the UK will continue to be our focus."

Meanwhile, Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats welcomed Mr Macdonald’s decision, which occurred after postal votes for next Thursday’s European elections had already been sent out.

"I am grateful for the step David has taken,” declared Mr Rennie. "I know it is not easy making this decision, it was difficult, and he has been considering it for quite some time.

“This gives us a real opportunity to send a message across Scotland that if you want to stop Brexit, you need to vote Liberal Democrat," added the Fife MSP.