Winston Marshall has departed Mumford & Sons after 14 years (Picture: Getty Images)
Winston Marshall has announced he has quit Mumford & Sons, months after receiving backlash for praising a right-wing pundit.
The 33-year-old, who had been the banjoist and lead guitarist since the group was founded in 2007, confirmed his departure in a lengthy statement on Thursday.
In March, he took a break from Mumford & Sons after promoting the bestselling book from journalist Andy Ngo, Unmasked, which promises to delve ‘inside Antifa’s radical plan to destroy democracy’.
Announcing his decision to quit the band, Winston wrote in a Medium post: ‘It will be with immense pride that I look back at my time with Mumford & Sons. A legacy of songs that I believe will stand the test of ages. What we’ve achieved together has vastly exceeded the wildest fantasies of this s**tkicker from Mortlake.
‘Who in their right mind would willingly walk away from this?
‘It turns out I would. And as you might imagine it’s been no easy decision.’
The musician continued: ‘From odysseys through the Scottish Islands to headlining Glastonbury, from The Betsy Trotwood to Madison Square Garden. We’ve done it all. What a blessing it was to be so close to such talent as those three lads. I will look back at it all with immense pride and love.
‘However, after much reflection and consideration, I have decided it is time to move on.
‘This is a difficult decision first brought about by an unintentional Twitter storm.’
In the book, Ngo called the far-right nationalist group Proud Boys a ‘pro-Trump fraternity’ and refers to left-wing activists as a ‘marauding gang’ whose mission is to ‘destroy the nation-state, America in particular’.
In a now-deleted tweet, Marshall wrote to Ngo: ‘Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man,’ leading to fans questioning whether Winston supported fascism.
Explaining his initial support of Ngo’s work, Winston said: ‘The book documents the recent activities of the extreme Left in the US. The tweet was misconstrued by many as an endorsement of the equally abhorrent Far-Right. Nothing could be further from the truth. I condemn unequivocally all political extremism, be it of the Right or Left.
Winston had been with the band since it was formed in 2007 (Picture: WireImage)
Mumford & Sons have supported Winston’s decision (Picture: Getty Images)
‘At the time of the incident emotions were high and despite the furore, the band invited me to continue with them. Considering the pressure, that took courage.
‘I’ve spent much time since reflecting, reading and listening. I know now that, as long as I am a member of the band, speaking my mind on the evils of political extremism could bring them trouble. My loyalty and love for them cannot permit that.
‘However to remain in the band and self-censor will gnaw my conscience, erode my integrity. By leaving I hope to speak freely without them suffering the consequences.’
The remaining members of Mumford & Sons have supported Winston’s decision and tweeted: ‘We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man.’
It accompanied a photo of the group as a whole and was signed up by Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane.
The band attracted controversy on another occasion previously, when they posed for a picture with writer and academic Jordon Peterson after he visited their studio in London.
Peterson has been accused of transphobia, misogyny and Islamophobia in his works, but Winston said he was not worried about the response to the photo as he was interested in his psychology work.
Mumford & Sons rose to worldwide fame with their Grammy-nominated debut album Sigh No More in 2009, which produced the hit singles Little Lion Man and The Cave.
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