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Government adviser Sir Roger Scruton sacked over Islamophobia remarks

The New Statesman America quoted Sir Roger as repeating his claim that Islamophobia was a propaganda word ‘invented by the Muslim Brotherhood’.

Sir Roger Scruton has been sacked (John Stillwell/PA)
Sir Roger Scruton has been sacked (John Stillwell/PA)

Sir Roger Scruton has been sacked from his post as a Government adviser after he sparked fresh controversy with “unacceptable” comments on Islamophobia.

The philosopher was dismissed as a housing tsar with immediate effect, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed.

A spokeswoman said: “Professor Sir Roger Scruton has been dismissed as chairman of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission with immediate effect, following his unacceptable comments.

“A new chair will be appointed by the Secretary of State, to take this important work forward, in due course.”

Downing Street said Sir Roger’s comments were “deeply offensive and completely unacceptable” and that it was right that he had been dismissed.

“He was appointed because of his expertise in the built environment but his comments are clearly distracting from the work of the commission and it is no longer right for him to act as a Government adviser,” a No 10 spokeswoman said.

The Government dismissed calls to fire the academic as a housing adviser last November after it emerged Sir Roger had said Islamophobia was a “propaganda word” and described homosexuality as “not normal”.

Sir Roger came under renewed criticism after commenting on the controversy.

His claim that Islamophobia does not exist, a few weeks after the devastating attack in Christchurch, is extremely dangerous. Dawn Butler

The New Statesman America quoted Sir Roger as repeating his claim that Islamophobia was a propaganda word “invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue”.

Sir Roger said it was “nonsense” for critics to accuse Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.

He said: “The Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East.”

Referring to philanthropist George Soros, Sir Roger said: “Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts.”

Remarking on last November’s controversy, Sir Roger said: “It’s upsetting because it’s meant to undermine your authority.

“And authority is the only thing I have, authority that comes from hard work and thinking.

“What surprised me was the kind of people who repeated this. You expect people who spend their lives on Twitter to have this store of malice but when it comes up in Parliament, as it did, I was astonished.”

Labour led calls for him to be sacked, with the shadow women and equalities secretary Dawn Butler accusing him of invoking the “language of white supremacists”.

Responding to Sir Roger’s dismissal, shadow communities secretary Andrew Gywnne said: “Labour called for Roger Scruton to be sacked from the start and the Tories should never have handed him the job given what was known about his disgusting, hateful remarks.

“If his views are unacceptable to the Government now, why were they acceptable when he previously said that date rape is not a crime, that homosexuality is ‘not normal’, that Islamophobia is a ‘propaganda word’, and peddled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros?

“The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire should apologise for defending Mr Scruton as a ‘champion’ of free speech and for saying our criticism of him was ‘misinformed’ and ‘ill-judged’.

“Mr Brokenshire also said ‘due diligence’ had been conducted on Mr Scruton’s appointment, so he must explain what this entailed, what processes he followed and how he reached his decision. The Government should also strip him of his knighthood.”

Royal Institute of British Architects president Ben Derbyshire said it was right for the Government to dismiss Sir Roger.

“At RIBA we also argue for better building quality but our doubts about the impartiality of this commission were clearly justified,” Mr Derbyshire said.

“Time and effort have been wasted and we should now move on from stylistic obsessions to the issues that lie at the heart of solving the housing crisis. The Government must focus on the real priority here: ensuring that all communities benefit from high quality homes and well-designed neighbourhoods.”

PA

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