The Tories’ newly appointed housing tsar Roger Scruton has addressed racist groups and appeared to suggest that Islamophobia is an invention.
It comes as MPs call on the government to remove Scruton from his post following a report by this blog revealing his claim that Hungarian Jews are part of a “Soros Empire”.
In 2006 Scruton addressed members of the far-right Belgian party Vlaams Belang, praising them for being “willing to brave” charges of Islamophobia. It is the official policy of Vlaams Belang to repatriate all immigrants who they believe “reject, deny or combat our culture”, and one of the party’s leading politicians has said that women wearing the hijab have “effectively signed their contract for deportation”.
Scruton had been addressing Vlaams Belang at the invitation of his “old friend” far-right blogger Paul Beliën, who just weeks earlier had been widely criticised for a blog titled “Give us weapons!” that referred to Muslim refugees as “predators” who “learned during the annual feast of sacrifice how to kill warm-blooded herd animals”. Belgium’s Centre for Opposition to Racism would later force him to delete the article.
Scruton was also happy to address the Traditional Britain Group as a guest of honour not long after its racist views were exposed when it hosted Jacob Rees-Mogg at one of its dinners. As was widely reported at the time, the group has a policy of deporting millions “to their natural homelands”, while its leader has described Vanessa Feltz as a “fat Jewish slag” and claimed “it was Britain and France who made it a world war, not Hitler”.
That’s to say nothing of Scruton’s own controversial views on Islamophobia, saying “when people invent a phobia to explain all criticism of Islam … they wish to hide the truth”. Elsewhere he has claimed “if you wish to mock the claim of Muslims that theirs is a ‘religion of peace’ you run the greatest of risks the Islamist proves his devotion to peace by killing those who question it.”
Scruton has also been criticised for presenting Muslims as a threat to Western values in his recent book.
Labour Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey has now called on his opposite number James Brokenshire to explain his appointment of Scruton, while Labour MPs Wes Streeting and Luciana Berger have called for him to be removed from his post. Brokenshire is now likely to come under renewed pressure to sack him.