Andrew Sabisky: Controversial Boris Johnson aide who suggested black people were mentally inferior resigns

No 10 initially declined opportunity to distance PM from remarks of adviser, recruited by Dominic Cummings

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Monday 17 February 2020 20:50 GMT
Grant Shapps avoids answering questions on controversial comments made by Andrew Sabisky

A controversial Downing Street aide who suggested black people were mentally inferior has resigned from his post.

Andrew Sabisky announced he was quitting his role as a contractor for No 10 following a major backlash over his past comments on eugenics, race and the enforced uptake of contraception.

Boris Johnson stood by Mr Sabisky initially in the face of widespread condemnation, with the prime minister’s official spokesman refusing to answer dozens of questions about the appointment.

The 27-year-old is understood to have been hired as part of Dominic Cummings‘ drive to recruit ”misfits and weirdos” to help shake up government.

In a post on Twitter, he said: “The media hysteria about my old stuff online is mad but I wanted to help HMG not be a distraction.

“Accordingly I’ve decided to resign as a contractor.

“I hope No10 hires more ppl [sic] w/ good geopolitical forecasting track records and that media learn to stop selective quoting.

“I know this will disappoint a lot of ppl [sic] but I signed up to do real work, not be in the middle of a giant character assassination: if I can’t do the work properly there’s no point, and I have a lot of other things to do w/ [sic] my life.”

His departure comes after the prime minister faced intense pressure to sack Mr Sabisky over historic comments, where he:

- Called for the young to undergo compulsory contraception to prevent the creation of “a permanent underclass”

- Disparagingly compared women’s sport to the Paralympics

- Suggested that black people were more likely than whites to be “close to mental retardation”

As the row deepened, Sky News found further comments under Mr Sabisky’s name in 2014, which suggested there could be “genetic reasons” for differences between the races in intelligence and suggested this could be taken into account in immigration policy.

The post said: “There are excellent reasons to think the very real racial differences in intelligence are significantly – even mostly – genetic in origin, though the degree is of course a very serious subject of scholarly debate.”

His appointment triggered public criticism from several Tory backbenchers as well as private disquiet among MPs.

Tory MP William Wragg said his presence was a “poor reflection on the government”, saying: “‘Weirdos’ and ‘misfits’ are all very well, but please can they not gratuitously cause offence.”

In a thinly-veiled jibe at Mr Cummings, he added: “I cannot be the only one uncomfortable with recent No 10 trends.”

Former Tory minister Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, said: “I don’t know him from a bar of soap, but don’t think we’d get on ... Must be no place in government for the views he’s expressed.”

Labour party chairman Ian Lavery welcomed his resignation but said the prime minister had questions to answer on the appointment and whether he agreed with Sabisky’s ”vile views”.

He said: “It’s right that Andrew Sabisky is no longer working in government. He should never have been appointed in the first place.

“After No 10 publicly stood by him today, Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer about how this appointment was made and whether he agrees with his vile views.”

Downing Street did not comment on Monday night but earlier, a No 10 spokesman said: “I’m not going to be commenting on individual appointments.”

The spokesman added: “The prime minister’s views on a range of subjects are well publicised and documented.”

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