Government housing adviser Roger Scruton sacked over 'Soros empire' and Islamophobia comments

Posted On: 
10th April 2019

Theresa May was today forced to sack a government advisor after he made a string of controversial remarks about race.

Roger Scruton had made controversial remarks in the past
PA Images

Roger Scruton, who was taken on as a housing tsar last year, complained of a “Soros empire” and said Islamophobia was a “propaganda word” invented by extremists.

MPs from across the political divide, including prominent Conservatives, condemned the comments, which he made in an interview with the New Statesman.

Minister defends housing tsar Roger Scruton despite row over Islam and homosexuality comments

Theresa May under pressure to sack housing tsar Roger Scruton for Islam and homosexuality comments

But just hours after the interview was published, the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government said he had been dumped.

"Professor Sir Roger Scruton has been dismissed as Chairman of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission with immediate effect, following his unacceptable comments," a spokesperson said.

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

Mr Scruton had told the New Statesman: “Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts.”

The comments refer to the Jewish philanthropist George Soros, who is frequently targeted by conspiracy theorists.

The philosopher also mounted a fresh defence of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban against claims of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia

“The Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East,” he argued.

Discussing the rise of China as a superpower, he added: “They’re creating robots out of their own people… each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.”

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: "These comments are deeply offensive and completely unacceptable and it is right that he has been dismissed.

"He was appointed because of his expertise in the built environment, but his comments were clearly distracting from the work of the commission and it's right for him to no longer be a government adviser."

His dismissal comes after ministers rebuffed calls to sack him last November, when he was accused of having made anti-semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic remarks in the past.

A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said: "While we welcome the action taken by the government, there are serious questions to answer as to why Mr Scruton was appointed in the first place.

"It is not the first time he has expressed Islamophobic views. This is yet another indication that the Conservative party has yet to get a grip on Islamophobia. Nothing short of an independent inquiry will do."

Speaking before his sacking, Labour spokesman said: "It's not the first time he’s said things like this. They’re completely unacceptable and nobody in a public position who makes those kind of remarks should be in that position.”