Scout leader receives payout after niqab comments

10 Sep 2018 News

A scout leader who was expelled from the charity after comparing a colleague wearing a niqab to Darth Vader has accepted an out-of-court settlement.

Brian Walker received £1,500 in an out-of-court settlement and withdrew a discrimination claim that was due to go to court in Bristol in November, the Times has reported.

However, the Scouts have said this does not mean he was right in making the offensive comments.

In a statement, the Scouts said: “We can confirm we have come to an out of court settlement with Mr Walker regarding his claim. This settlement does not imply that we accept Mr Walker’s claim made against us or his view of the world. The Scouts do not accept Mr Walker was right when he made his offensive comments.

"As a charity, we had to weigh up whether it was worth using our limited time and money on a costly and prolonged legal dispute. In this case, we decided it was in our best interests to settle this matter out of court."

Walker had sent a private email to the Scout movement’s official magazine last year to complain it was promoting Islam while playing down the organisation’s Christian origins.

In response to an article about a Muslim leader taking Scouts on a canoeing trip, he wrote: “Hello! Canoeists don’t dress like that.” 

“They need all round unobstructed vision so they protect the group, and of course they will most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent!”

He reportedly had asked Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, to act as an expert witness to defend him for making what he described as “a quip, light-hearted tongue-in-cheek humour”.

Walker was dismissed by letter from his post as assistant leader of an Explorer Scout pack in Bristol. The letter stated that his views did not fit “within the equal opportunities policy” or the Scout values of “integrity, respect, care, and belief”.

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