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Scruton dismissed over ‘unacceptable comments’ on race

Words: Laura Edgar
Professor Sir Roger Scruton / Elekes Andor

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has dismissed Professor Roger Scruton as chairman of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission following ‘unacceptable comments’ he has made.

The dismissal follows comments the philosopher made in an interview with the New Statesman about Hungarian philanthropist George Soros, Chinese people and Islam.

Calls to cancel his appointment to the commission were made in November, shortly after the commission was announced, for past comments about Islamophobia and antisemitism.

At this time, Brokenshire said for the advisory appointment, "due diligence checks were carried out and considered prior to Sir Roger Scruton’s selection as unpaid chair. With his experience and commitment to this important agenda, Sir Roger is the right person to chair the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission".

Following the interview, Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, said the comments “are despicable and invoke the language of white supremacists”.

A MHCLG spokesperson 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.”

Brokenshire launched the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission to promote better design and style of homes. It is expected to develop practical measures to make sure that new developments meet the needs and expectations of communities so that they are more likely to be welcomed than resisted.

Image credit | Elekes Andor