Theresa May warns Toby Young further 'distasteful' tweets could see him sacked from universities role
Theresa May has reportedly voiced concerns about "distasteful" tweets sent by Toby Young, as she came under pressure from Tory MPs to axe him from a role with the new universities regulator.
Among the controversial journalist's deleted tweets were a joke about masturbating over charity marathon Comic Relief in 2009 and commenting that a female MP had “quite a cleavage”.
He has also previously described lesbians as "dykes" and called singer George Michael "queer as a coot".
Labour last week called for the writer to be sacked from the board of the new watchdog, the Office for Students, for what it branded “homophobic” and “misogynistic” comments.
The move piles further pressure on Mrs May ahead of an expected cabinet reshuffle, with two senior female Tory MPs saying Mr Young’s position is “untenable".
A Downing Street source defended the Spectator writer’s record in promoting ministers’ free schools agenda but said any such comments would be unacceptable in future.
“Toby Young has a great record in setting up free schools,” the source told the Mail on Sunday.
“However, the Prime Minister was not aware of these tweets when she appointed him and, like most people, sees them as distasteful.
“Now he has a public role, any repeat of those kinds of comments would be clearly incompatible with that position.”
Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "In continuing to defend Mr Young when the party needs to appeal to women and young people, we risk alienating those we need to re-engage with to win the next election."
Fellow Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Health Select Committee, added: "I feel deeply uncomfortable about someone who says things like this being appointed to a high profile public role."