Winston Marshall quit Mumford & Sons because he didn’t want the band to face “some pretty ugly accusations” after facing controversy of his own.

The 33-year-old musician announced that he will leave the folk rock band after 14 years, after he was embroiled in controversy earlier this year for praising a book by right-wing journalist Andy Ngo.

And in his lengthy post on Medium in which he explained his decision to walk away from the ‘I Will Wait’ hitmakers, Winston admitted he didn’t want to involve his band mates – Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane – in his own issues.

He wrote: “I’ve had plenty of abuse over the years. I’m a banjo player after all. But this was another level. And, owing to our association, my friends, my bandmates, were getting it too. It took me more than a moment to understand how distressing this was for them.

“Despite being four individuals we were, in the eyes of the public, a unity. Furthermore it’s our singer’s name on the tin. That name was being dragged through some pretty ugly accusations, as a result of my tweet. The distress brought to them and their families that weekend I regret very much. I remain sincerely sorry for that. Unintentionally, I had pulled them into a divisive and totemic issue.”

Winston initially took a temporary step back from the group, and although his band mates were willing to let him stay, he ultimately decided he needed to leave completely to save them from further criticism.

He added: “For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that.

“The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best. I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future.”