A government adviser, who was knighted in 2016, has been sacked after referring to a “Soros empire” in Hungary and defending Viktor Orbán against allegations of antisemitism.
Speaking to the New Statesman’s George Eton, Sir Roger Scruton, 75, said: “Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts.”
Scruton, who was chair of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, also dismissed allegations of antisemitism levelled against Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán as “nonsense.”
A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 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.”
A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “As soon as we saw Sir Roger Scruton’s unacceptable comments we contacted Government to make our concerns heard.
“We are satisfied that the right decision has been made to dismiss him.”
The interview immediately received criticism on social media, causing the hashtag “Roger Scruton” to trend on Twitter in the UK.
Former Chancellor George Osborne tweeted: “Yesterday, leading Conservatives rightly ask what they can do to reconnect to modern Britain.
“Today, these bigoted remarks from the man they bizarrely appointed to advise them on housing.”
The former housing commission chair was appointed last year, despite calls for his dismissal from Labour MPs on account of past remarks.
Wes Streeting tweeted at the time: “It gets worse and worse [James Brokenshire] must surely now realise that he has made a terrible error of judgement in appointing Roger Scruton to a government post.
“He must dismiss him immediately.”