Theresa May under pressure to sack housing tsar Roger Scruton for Islam and homosexuality comments
Theresa May is under pressure to sack her new housing adviser after he was accused of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
Labour MPs have called on Mrs May to dump Roger Scruton after a Buzzfeed investigation found he had also claimed homosexuality was not “normal”.
Mr Scruton was appointed at the weekend by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire to lead a new government commission on building “beautiful” homes.
But it has emerged that in 2017 Mr Scruton wrote that Islamophobia was a “propaganda-word” and added: “In a society devoted to ‘inclusion’, the only ‘phobia’ permitted is that of which Conservatives are the target.”
And in 2007 he railed against gay adoption in a Telegraph article in which he wrote: “Every now and then we wake up to the fact that, although homosexuality has been normalised, it is not normal.
“Our acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, of same-sex couples, and of the gay scene has not eliminated our sense that these are alternatives to something, and that it is the other thing that is normal.”
In a separate post on his website he wrote: “The orthodox liberal view is that homosexuality is innate and guiltless. Like the Islamists, the advocated of this view have invested a phobia with which to denounce their opponents.
Meanwhile Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger accused Mr Scruton of propagating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories over comments he made about Hungarian-born Jewish philanthropist George Soros in a 2014 lecture where he said: “Many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros empire.”
She said in a tweet: “An individual who peddles anti-Semitic conspiracy theories has no place advising government about anything. Theresa May please intervene/James Brokenshire should urgently reconsider his appointment."
The comments formed part of a wider support for Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban who has focused his political campaign on the claim that Mr Soros poses a threat to the country.
When questioned about the appointment the Housing department said they had carried out “due diligence” prior to the appointment.
They added: “Professor Sir Roger Scruton, as a long-standing public intellectual, has strong views on a number of issues. He received a knighthood in 2016 and advised the coalition government on design.
“His commitment to driving quality in the built environment is well known and he has published extensively on architecture and place, which makes him an excellent candidate for the unpaid chairmanship of the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission.”
In a statement released on Twitter Mr Scruton said he had been “offended” by the allegations made against him.
“Following my appointment as the unpaid chairman of the Government’s advisory committee on Building Better, Building Beautiful, I have been offended and hurt by suggestions I am anti-Semitic or in any way ‘Islamophobic’," he said.
“Nothing could be further from the truth and I wish to rebut these incorrect assertions.
“If people actually read my comments regarding the interplay between George Soros and Hungary they will realise they are not in any way anti-Semitic, indeed quite the opposite.
He added: “Only two years ago I supported George Soros by making representations to Prime Minister Orban’s regime to keep open the Central European University so that intellectual freedom could continue to flourish in Hungary.
“My statements on Islamic states point only to the failure of these states, which is a fact. My views on Islam are well known and can be found in my book The West And The Rest.”