Roger Scruton: Sacked housing advisor reinstated after row over claims of offensive remarks

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Lizzy Buchan
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Academic Sir Roger Scruton has been reinstated as a government adviser after he was sacked over claims he had made Islamophobic and antisemitic comments.

In one of her final acts as prime minister, Theresa May invited Sir Roger to return to his unpaid role as the chair of a government body championing beautiful buildings.

The controversial philosopher was sacked by James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, following comments he made about China, Islam and the financier George Soros in a New Statesman interview earlier this year.

The piece sparked a furious backlash, with Labour and Tory MPs calling for him to be sacked.

However the magazine has since apologised after it emerged that some of his remarks had been taken out of context.

The original interview stated that he described Islamophobia as a "propaganda word invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue" and said all Chinese people are "replicas" of one another.

Sir Roger also was reported to have repeated antisemitic tropes about Hungarian businessman George Soros.

However a full transcript showed that he had described a "Soros empire" but the magazine omitted his later comment that "it’s not necessarily an empire of Jews – that’s such nonsense".

The piece failed to mention that his claim that Chinese people were "replicas" of one another was referring to the Chinese Communist Party, rather than all Chinese people.

The interview also failed to mention that Sir Roger said Muslims "who settle into the Meccan way of life are obviously perfect citizens".

Mr Brokenshire apologised for sacking Sir Roger last week.

In a letter to the academic, published by the Spectator, he said: "I would be delighted if you would be willing to be re-appointed to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission as co-chair.

"I know that you still have so much more to give and hope this may also help to put things right after the regrettable events of recent months."

Sir Roger has been criticised in the past for describing homosexuality as "not normal" and the term Islamophobia as "propaganda" in his previous works.