Give scientist Tim Hunt his job back, says Tory peer
A Tory peer has called for a Nobel laureate scientist to be reinstated to his university post despite making "silly and foolish" remarks about women working in laboratories.
Former minister Lord Inglewood warned about the "pernicious influence" of political correctness and spoke up in support of Sir Tim Hunt in a debate on the creative industries.
The 72-year-old scientist provoked a backlash on social media after he reportedly said the "trouble with girls" in laboratories was that "you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry".
He subsequently apologised for the comments - made at a conference in South Korea - saying they had been intended to be jocular and ironic, but said that he was told that if he did not resign his position at University College London he would be sacked.
London mayor Boris Johnson has said that Sir Tim deserved to be re-instated after the "over-reaction" to his comments.
Lord Inglewood told peers that they should be on their guard against the "pernicious influence of conventional wisdom and political correctness" on imagination and creativity.
"Is there anybody sitting here who has not on some occasion said something silly or done something perhaps they would rather they hadn't. I don't think so," he said.
"What Sir Tim Hunt has done is said something which was silly and foolish - and I'm sure on a moment's reflection he regrets deeply.
"But is the response of UCL and the role of society right? I think not. I think the peccadillo he committed is far less than the peccadillo they have committed and I hope he will be reinstated to the position he was before."