A PHILOSOPHER based in Brinkworth has been sacked as a government advisor after making anti-Semitic remarks and claiming Islamophobia is a "propaganda word".

Sir Roger Scruton, who lives in the village west of town and has taken the stage a number of times at the Swindon Literary Festival, has been dismissed as chair of the government's Build Better, Build Beautiful commission over the comments.

It follows an interview in the New Statesman magazine published on April 10 which repeated earlier comments saying that Hungarian Jews were part of an "empire" run by George Soros.

In the interview he reaffirmed his stance, saying: “Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts," referring to the billionaire investor and philanthropist.

He said that Islamophobia was a propaganda word “invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue” and that the Chinese are creating "robots out of their own people".

Adding: "The Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing said: “Prof Sir Roger Scruton has been dismissed as chairman of the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission with immediate effect, following his unacceptable comments."

The sacking comes at a time when Labour and the Conservatives have had to suspend members in their parties over anti-Semitic and Islamophobic remarks.

Last month 14 Conservative members were suspended after allegedly making Islamophobic comments over social media.

A spokesperson for Number 10 said his comments were "deeply offensive, completely unacceptable and it's right that he's been dismissed".

Adding: "He was appointed because of his expertise in a particular field but it's clear that his comments are distracting from that work."

Matt Holland, organiser of the Swindon Literary Festival, which returns this year as the Swindon Spring Festival, said: "I have never ever seen him treat or heard him speak about anyone, of any race, religion, or background, but that he has done so with the utmost respect, intelligence, and decency.

"Nor would I deem anything he has ever said at the Festival to be anything like what he is being accused of."

Mr Scruton, who was knighted in 2016 for his services to philosophy and education, is highly regarded and taught at at universities in America and at Oxford.

He did not reply to a request for a comment before the Adver went to press.