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  1. ITV Report

Conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton dies aged 75

Credit: PA

Writer and philosopher Sir Roger Scruton has died aged 75 after a six-month battle with cancer.

In a statement on his website, the writer's family said they were "hugely proud of him and of all his achievements".

It added: "Beloved husband of Sophie, adored father to Sam and Lucy and treasured brother of Elizabeth and Andrea, he died peacefully on Sunday 12th January."

In December Sir Roger wrote: “Coming close to death you begin to know what life means, and what it means is gratitude.”

Sir Roger with his wife Sophie, daughter Lucy and son Sam after he was knighted. Credit: PA

One of the country's most prominent conservative philosophers, during his lifetime Sir Roger published more than 50 books and held fellowships at a number of institutions including the British Academy.

Sir Roger graduated from Cambridge University in 1965 and paid particular attention to aesthetics, architecture and music in his philosophical work.

In 2016 he was knighted for his services to philosophy, teaching and public education and received honours from Poland and Hungary for his work supporting dissidents behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.

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A number of literary voices have paid tribute to the scholar.

Journalist and author Peter Hitchens described him as "a man of immense courage, intellect and fortitude, whose loss we can ill afford in these narrow, conformist times."

Author and historian Anne Applebaum added: "In the 1980s, Roger Scruton organised money and books for dissidents in Eastern Europe.

"I was one of the student couriers who helped smuggle them 'across the iron curtain.' I am still grateful for what Roger did for them, and for me."

In continuing recognition of Sir Roger's work in Eastern Europe, the Slovak Ambassador in London Ľubomír Rehák wrote he was a "great friend of the Slovaks, Czechs and other nations behind the Iron Curtain in 1980s, linking dissident academics with Western universities."

Voices across the political spectrum have also come together to remember Sir Roger.

Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan tweeted the academic was "the greatest conservative of our time" and added "the country has lost a towering intellect."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid MP also tweeted tributes writing:

"From his support for freedom fighters in Eastern Europe to his immense intellectual contribution to conservatism in the West, he made a unique contribution to public life."

Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, tweeted: "It is indescribably sad that we have lost Roger.

"He was an enormously kind friend, an intellectual giant, a brilliantly clear and compelling writer, a beacon. Words cannot do justice to a man who used them so wonderfully and well."

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Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick wrote: "His work on building more beautifully, submitted recently to my department, will proceed and stand part of his unusually rich legacy."

Elsewhere former Labour MP Kate Hoey described Sir Roger's death as "a great loss to independent thinking."

While Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox wrote: "I'm devastated. I'd hoped he'd fought C off, as he fought off so many of his foes for decades.

"Roger Scruton was so good to me over years, regardless of our political differences. I loved his mind, his writing, his humour. He taught me so much about music, beauty and life."

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Former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks posted a statement on Twitter:

"Roger Scruton was one of the most brilliant minds of his generation in the English-speaking world.

"There was hardly a branch of philosophy to which he did not contribute".

The Prince of Wales knighted Sir Roger Scruton in 2016. Credit: PA

Sir Roger made headlines last year after he was dismissed as a government housing adviser over a row about comments he made in a magazine interview.

He was reported as saying the Chinese were “creating robots of their own people”, but the magazine later clarified his criticism was of the restrictive regime of the Chinese Communist Party rather than the citizens.

Sir Roger also repeated his claim that Islamophobia was a propaganda word “invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue”.

The magazine subsequently apologised for the way it had posted social media links to the article in which “the views of Professor Scruton were not accurately represented in the tweets to his disadvantage”.

Sir Roger said the row showed there was a “witch hunt” against people on the political right which he saw as an “attempt to silence the conservative voice”.