Boris Johnson defended Toby Young

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LONDON - JULY 05: London Mayor Boris Johnson wears a pink stetson hat at the Gay Pride parade on July 5, 2008 in London, England. The parade consists of celebrities, floats, and performers celebrating the UK's largest gay and lesbian festival. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has leaped to the defence of a government regulator appointee who was demanded to be sacked for his previous misogynistic and homophobic remarks. But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refused to condemn Young, writing in Twitter: “Ridiculous outcry over Toby Young. He will bring independence, rigour and caustic wit. Ideal man for job.” Johnson and Young are acquainted for years. Mr Johnson is the former editor of the Spectator magazine, which Mr Young used to write for. And Mr Young was actually appointed to the role by Mr Johnson’s younger brother, universities minister Jo Johnson. But Young hit back the critics stating: “The OfS will have some responsibility for ensuring universities uphold free speech. That means defending the right of students, academic staff and visitors with unorthodox views to speak freely without being howled down by political extremists. Given that defending free speech will be one of the OfS’s priorities, there’s a certain irony in people saying I’m ‘unfit’ to serve on its board because of politically incorrect things I’ve said in the past. Some of those things have been sophomoric and silly – and I regret those – but some have been deliberately misinterpreted to try and paint me as a caricature of a heartless Tory toff. For the record, I’m a supporter of women’s rights and LGBT rights. Indeed, I was a supporter of gay marriage and debated Nigel Farage on the topic in public.”

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