One of Change UK‘s lead European election candidates has quit to back the Liberal Democrats over concerns the new party could split the Remain vote in the upcoming contest.

David Macdonald is the second person to resign as lead candidate for the party in Scotland after Joseph Russo withdrew from the race after one day over scrutiny of his old social media posts.

Speaking at Holyrood, Mr Macdonald expressed fears about splitting the Remain vote by standing as a candidate for the newly-formed party, as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party soars in the polls.

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A recent survey had the Brexit Party on 34 per cent, prompting panic among pro-EU parties.

Mr Macdonald, an independent councillor from East Renfrewshire, said after a “great deal of reflection on the political landscape we are facing in Scotland at present, 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”.

He said: “If things continue as they are the Remain vote will split in Scotland and put at risk the representation that supporters of remaining in the European Union so collectively desire.

“For that reason I have decided to end my candidacy for Change UK effective immediately and I am now calling for those in favour of remaining in the European Union, including all supporters of Change UK in Scotland, to do what is best for our collective voice in Europe and to support the Scottish Liberal Democrats in the upcoming European election, to better ensure that they gain representation to secure a seat in these European elections.”

The news will come as a blow to Change UK ahead of next week’s European parliament elections.

Chuka Umunna, Change UK’s group spokesperson said: “It is obviously disappointing that this candidate has chosen to pledge allegiance to another party – he has let down his fellow candidates and activists.

“But 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.

“In the past 24 hour’s Labour’s former head of campaigns for the the North of England has come out for Change UK, as have many former Labour voters.

“Winning voters over from the main parties and growing the Remain vote across the UK will continue to be our focus.”

Efforts by Change UK and other pro-EU parties to form a “Remain alliance” have so far ended in failure.

The Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Change UK held discussions over uniting behind an independent candidate for next month’s Peterborough by-election but the talks collapsed, with Change UK blaming Labour figures for interference.

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