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  1. ITV Report

No10 aide Andrew Sabisky 'jumped before he was pushed' after controversial comments exposed

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

Controversial ex-Downing Street adviser Andrew Sabisky "jumped before he was pushed" a government minister has said, after the newly hired aide resigned following the exposure of "unacceptable" and "racist" comments.

Mr Sabisky, who once suggested enforcing the uptake of contraception to stop unplanned pregnancies creating a “permanent underclass”, announced he was standing down on Monday evening.

He said he did not want to be a distraction to the Government – having come under attack from Tory and Labour MPs over his highly contentious comments.

The aide was hired after the prime minister's chief adviser Dominic Cummings called for "weirdos and misfits" to apply for jobs in government.

On Tuesday morning Mr Cummings was asked by a reporter whether he'd be hiring anymore weirdos.

He said the reporter should read "Philip Tetlock's superforecasters" rather than political pundits, who he said "don't know what they're talking about".

He declined to directly answer any questions about Mr Sabisky.

Superforecasting is a book by Philip Tetlock on the science of prediction.

Later on Tuesday former Tory chancellor Ken Clarke launched a scathing attack on Mr Cummings and questioned the appointment of Mr Sabisky.

On Sabisky, he said: "I don’t think this needs this vast number of apparatchiks.

"All this started with Tony Blair who started bringing these types of people in."

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng described Mr Sabisky's past remarks - which included a suggestion that black Americans have a lower average IQ than white Americans - as "offensive" and "racist".

He said "I don't know how he was hired, I don't know what the path was.

"But what I think is important is the fact that as soon as his remarks had been identified, he was essentially pushed out."

Mr Kwarteng said he suspected Mr Sabisky "jumped before he was pushed", and said it was "regrettable" he was hired.

His sentiments were echoed by Caroline Nokes MP, who chairs the Women and Equalities Select Committee.

Speaking to ITV News she said: "I was very relieved to hear that Mr Sabisky had resigned. I think perhaps came too late, but eventually the government and he decided to part company - and I am sure that's the right thing to have happened.

"I was alarmed by the racist tone of his commentary. I was offended by the comments that he made about women athletes, and indeed disabled people. And really concerned that he had made comments about FGM, and people overreacting to what he regarded as a cultural activity."

She said the government must find robust ways of recruiting staff, ensuring they go through rigorous vetting procedures so there is no repeat of an incident akin to this one.

Mr Sabisky announced he was quitting on Monday evening - describing the "media hysteria about my old stuff online" as "mad".

"I hope no.10 hires more ppl w/ good geopolitical forecasting track records & that media learn to stop selective quoting," he tweeted.

And he said: "I know this will disappoint a lot of ppl 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, & I have a lot of other things to do w/ my life."

Boris Johnson was put under mounting pressure to sack Mr Sabisky but Downing Street earlier refused to condemn the remarks, a stance Labour said was "disgusting".

Andrew Sabisky has quit as a Government contractor. Credit: Twitter/AndrewSabisky

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Government must "demonstrate some basic but fundamental values".

Speaking after Mr Sabisky's resignation, Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said: "It's right that Andrew Sabisky is no longer working in government. He should never have been appointed in the first place.

"After Number 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."

Mr Sabisky reportedly once suggested that the benefits of a purported cognitive enhancer, which can prove fatal, are "probably worth a dead kid once a year".

And writing on Mr Cummings's website in 2014, he said: "One way to get around the problems of unplanned pregnancies creating a permanent underclass would be to legally enforce universal uptake of long-term contraception at the onset of puberty.

"Vaccination laws give it a precedent, I would argue."