Highlands & Islands

Brian Wilson sacked from West Highland Free Press

Brian Wilson
Image caption Brian Wilson was a founding member of the paper

The founding editor of the West Highland Free Press has been sacked by his former paper in a row over free speech.

Brian Wilson, who was a Labour minister in Tony Blair's government, was a columnist for the Skye-based publication.

He was sacked after defending a fellow columnist who wrote a piece about the spread of Islam in the UK.

The West Highland Free Press said they would no longer write for the paper.

Another columnist, broadcaster Maggie Cunningham, has said she will not write any more pieces for the newspaper.

In his last column on 22 May, Donald Macleod, a Free Church professor of theology, wrote: "All minorities prefer to keep a low profile and avoid trouble.

"Generations of British Muslims have done exactly that, many have made an invaluable contribution to British society, and many are perfectly prepared to listen quietly while Christians 'witness' to them.

"But when minorities become majorities, things change... in the event of Islamic dominance in Britain our friendly Muslim shopkeepers will have little option but to march behind the radicals."

'Immense contribution'

In response, Mr Wilson wrote in his column last week that Mr Macleod's piece was "leading on to wider questions about Islamic influence within Europe, including implications for democracy and freedom".

In a statement, the West Highland Free press said: "We note there has been some speculation around Professor Donald Macleod and founding editor Brian Wilson no longer writing columns for the West Highland Free Press and confirm they will both be no longer writing for us.

"We thank both Brian Wilson and Professor Macleod for their immense contribution to the paper over many years.

"They have rightly earned their reputation as erudite, passionate and respected writers and their regular offerings in the West Highland Free Press will be missed by some readers. Further than this, we have no comment to make."