Maverick No10 chief Dominic Cummings voiced defiance today despite a Tory backlash over adviser Andrew Sabisky, who was ousted over vile social media posts.
Mr Cummings insisted people should not listen to ‘political pundits who don’t know what they are talking about’ as he was challenged by reporters on whether he regretted the appointment.
Mr Sabisky – a self-style ‘super-forecaster’ – quit last night amid fury at past comments in which he talked about forced contraception of the ‘underclass’ and suggested black people had lower IQs.
The 27-year-old is thought to have been working as a contractor on defence and other policy areas, but Downing Street has not confirmed the details or whether he went through background checks.
Meanwhile, other historic posts have surfaced in which Mr Sabisky apparently advised a woman that her boyfriend liking pornography about incest, paedophilia and rape was not ‘all that much to worry about’.
According to Reddit posts unearthed by The National, Mr Sabisky also said he had ‘a thing for incest erotica myself despite never having had those fantasies relating to my actual family’.
Mr Sabisky had been one of the first ‘weirdos and misfits’ recruited under a drive by Mr Cummings.
In a thinly-veiled swipe today, business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said there must be ‘much more severe’ vetting in No10 so the same mistakes could not ‘happen again’.
‘What I do know is his remarks were offensive and racist and as soon as they came to light he left the government pretty quickly,’ Mr Kwarteng told Sky News.
One Cabinet minister who lost their job in the reshuffle told ITV News that Mr Cummings ‘can’t afford any more Sabiskys’.
But accosted by reporters outside his London home, Mr Cummings insisted the government needed ‘super-forecasters’ rather than ‘political pundits who don’t know what they’re talking about’.
Announcing his resignation last night, Andrew Sabisky (pictured) said he joined the government to do ‘real work’ and claimed he was the victim of ‘a giant character assassination’
Mr Sabisky announced on Twitter last night that he was steeping down from his role as a Downing Street adviser
Accosted by reporters outside his London home today, Dominic Cummings said the government needed ‘super-forecasters’ rather than ‘political pundits who don’t know what they’re talking about’
Asked whether Boris Johnson (pictured) condemned the comments yesterday, the PM’s deputy spokesman merely said: ‘The PM’s views are well publicised and documented.’
Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he did not know what checks had been carried out of what work Mr Sabisky was doing
But after a major backlash he announced last night he was stepping down due to ‘media hysteria’ and to avoid being a ‘distraction’ for the government.
He tweeted: ‘Hey all, 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 no.10 hires more ppl w/ good geopolitical forecasting track records & that media learn to stop selective quoting.’
In another tweet soon after Mr Sabisky added that he joined the government team to do ‘real work’ and claimed he was the victim of ‘a giant character assassination’.
He wrote: ‘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.’
Reddit posts from seven years ago were highlighted by The National today in which Mr Sabisky, apparently acting as an agony uncle, offered advice to a woman who found ‘disturbing porn’ on her boyfriend’s computer, including erotic fiction about incest, paedophilia and rape.
Mr Sabisky reportedly told her he didn’t ‘see all that much to worry about here’.
‘Fantasies are strange things. Unpredictable, of uncertain origin, hard to figure how they’ll relate to real life. I have a thing for incest erotica myself despite never having had those fantasies relating to my actual family. So long as he’s not actually breaking any laws and is restricting his viewing habits to girls 18 and up I wouldn’t be too squicked.’
He also reportedly told a Mormon man that his wife was ‘not very Christian’ for rebutting his sexual advances. ‘Theologically speaking she is your wife and should submit to you as unto the Lord,’ he reportedly wrote.
Before the resignation, No10 refused to comment on Mr Sabisky’s appointment to the role.
Asked whether Mr Johnson condemned the comments, the PM’s deputy spokesman merely said: ‘The Prime Minister’s views are well publicised and documented.’
A photograph of Mr Sabisky standing in front of 10 Downing Street has emerged on Twitter.
The photo was published by fellow ‘super-forecaster’ Michael Story on January 17 of this year. It showed Mr Sabisky alongside Mr Story and Thomas Liptay.
Mr Story and Mr Liptay are both co-founders of an app designed to improve the accuracy of forecasts.
Asked today whether he regretted the appointment of Mr Sabisky, Mr Cummings told reporters: ‘Read Philip Tetlock’s ‘Superforecasting’ instead of political pundits who don’t know what they are talking about.’
But Mr Kwarteng delivered a thinly-veiled rebuke to Mr Cummings over the row.
‘I don’t know how this man appeared on the horizon, I don’t know how he was recruited,’ he said.
‘What I do know is that his remarks were offensive and racist and as soon as they came to light, he left the Government pretty quickly.’
Tory MP Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, said she was ‘relieved’ Mr Sabisky had resigned, but criticised the ‘silence’ from Downing Street.
Former immigration minister Ms Nokes told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m relieved that Mr Sabisky has resigned.
‘I was disappointed that yesterday there was silence from Downing Street regarding his previous comments and it does seem that when the call went out for misfits and weirdos that was exactly what Downing Street got.’
She added: ‘I think he needed to come out earlier and explain himself, he needed to apologise for those comments and unfortunately we had 48 hours of almost complete silence and no comment from Downing Street, who could have distanced themselves from his youthful comments at any point, but they chose not to do so.’
It follows a series of other historic posts prompted a furious reaction.
Writing on Mr Cummings’ website in 2014, Mr Sabisky 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.’
In another post being circulated on social media, Mr Sabisky claimed black people had lower IQs than white people.
In the article, entitled ‘Disabilities by race’ he reportedly said: ‘If the mean black American IQ is (best estimate based on a century’s worth of data) around 85, as compared to a mean white American IQ of 100, then if IQ is normally distributed, you will see a far greater percentage of blacks than whites in the range of IQs 75 or below, at which point we are close to the typical boundary for mild mental retardation.’
On the issue of FGM, he reportedly wrote: ‘It is still unclear to what extent FGM represents a serious risk to young girls, raised in the UK, of certain minority group origins. Much of the hue and cry looks more like a moral panic.’
He also once tweeted that former defence secretaries Penny Mordaunt and Gavin Williamson – both now back in government – were ‘proper morons’.
A picture published on Twitter by Michael Story (pictured middle) on January 17 of this year showed Andrew Sabisky (pictured left) stood in front of the famous black door of Number 10. Neither of the other men are linked to Mr Sabisky’s social media posts
Mr Sabisky also made controversial comments on Twitter about women’s sport
Mr Sabisky, a researcher who describes himself as a ‘super-forecaster’, came under fire for previous remarks after he was appointed as an adviser to the government