UKIP Warrington’s chairman says he does not endorse party leader Gerard Batten’s decision to appoint activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser.

The controversial move, which has since been defended by Mr Batten, has led to former leaders Paul Nuttall and Nigel Farage resigning from the party.

UKIP Warrington chairman Ian Wilson has criticised the appointment of the former English Defence League leader, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

He said: “My personal view is that the Tommy Robinson issue is an unwelcome distraction at a critical time when UKIP members are determined to focus all their attention on campaigning for a real Brexit.

“I’m pleased that UKIP’s NEC blocked his party membership and I do not endorse Gerard Batten’s decision to appoint him as a personal adviser.

“In my experience, people who decide to become members of UKIP do so for one overwhelming reason – to campaign for the UK to leave the EU.

“We’ve seen a big surge in joiners recently, following Theresa May’s catastrophic failure to negotiate a good deal.

“None of these joiners have indicated that they did so for any other reason than Brexit.”