Tory housing tsar: Being gay is more dangerous than smoking

Tory housing tsar Sir Roger Scruton poses next to his portrai

Senior UK government adviser Sir Roger Scruton once claimed that being gay is more dangerous than smoking, and accused politicians of forcing gay “propaganda” on school children.

Sir Roger Scruton, who was appointed by the Conservatives to head a new housing commission on November 3, made the claims in a 2001 essay for a right-wing journal.

“People live longer, happier, and healthier lives… if they adhere to the traditional sexual code.”

— Sir Roger Scruton, Tory housing tsar

In the essay, found by the London Evening Standard on Wednesday (November 14), Scruton claimed the then-Labour government was trying to “introduce propaganda into junior schools that will legitimise the ‘gay’ alternative,” adding that “people live longer, happier, and healthier lives… if they adhere to the traditional sexual code.”

In the City Journal essay, the Tory housing tsar described religious belief as a “miracle cure” and asserted that homosexuality is more dangerous than smoking.

Photo of Tory housing tsar Sir Roger Scruton, who has come under fire

Tory housing tsar Roger Scruton, a British philosopher and political scientist. (MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty)

Scruton complained: “Our own government is… lowering the age of consent for homosexual intercourse and censuring as ‘homophobic’ those who would alert us to the known medical consequences.

“Nanny is… eager to protect young people from smoking and cites the health risk as her argument. But she does not wish to protect them from homosexual adventures and therefore forbids all discussion of the risk, far greater though it is than the risk attached to cigarettes.”

Scruton attacked “pussyfooting over AIDS,” adding: “The fact that the promiscuous habits of many male homosexuals have greatly advanced this disease has done nothing to make Nanny warn against homosexuality or against exposing young people, even children, to its allure.”

Of smokers, he added: “The smoker is a normal, responsible member of the community, and he can be relied upon, when asked, to put out his fag.”

The appointment had already faced criticism over Scruton’s previous writing about Muslims, Jewish people and gay people.

Writings resurfaced on November 11, dating from 2007 to 2015, in which Scruton compared gay sex to incest, claimed that homophobia was “invented,” and suggested that being gay is part of a “moral inversion that is infecting modern society.”

Conservatives have defended Sir roger Scruton

Senior Tories lined up to defend Scruton on November 12 in a debate in the House of Commons, before the most recent revelations came to light.

Local government secretary James Brokenshire told Parliament that Scruton is “the right person to chair” the government housing commission, and said that “due diligence checks were carried out and considered” prior to his appointment.

Scruton attracted support from Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, an opponent of LGBT+ rights.

Roger Scruton after he was knighted by the Prince of Wales

Theresa May has been told to fire Tory housing tsar Roger Scruton (John Stillwell/Getty)

Rees-Mogg claimed: “Sr Roger is a very brave defender of free speech who used to go behind the iron curtain when some people on the other side of this House might have been rather more sympathetic and fellow traveller-ish than they might like now to admit.

“Any philosopher must be able to discuss issues and is bound to say things in his works that are controversial, because otherwise, discussion and debate cannot be advanced. That is an inevitable consequence of appointing a philosopher.”

Labour MPs urged the Tories to sack Sir Roger Scruton

Labour MP Andrew Gwynne called on Brokenshire to “apologise to the LGBTQ+ community for appointing a man who holds those views.”

After Brokenshire declined to sack the Tory housing tsar, Gwynne said: “I want the Secretary of State to confirm to this House that he has confidence in Sir Roger and the views that he holds, so that we can go forwards knowing that this Secretary of State thinks that these views are acceptable for the chair of this commission.”

Brokenshire shot back: “I have to say that it saddens me that someone who has done so much to champion freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought should be subject to the kind of misinformed, ill-judged and very personal attacks that we have seen over the last few days, some of which, sadly, [Gwynne] has just repeated.”