Scots newspaper sacks duo over Islam column row

Brian Wilson was one of two columnists sacked by the Skye-based West Highland Free Press. Picture: Robert Perry

Brian Wilson was one of two columnists sacked by the Skye-based West Highland Free Press. Picture: Robert Perry

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THE Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland has hit out at a Highland regional newspaper which sacked two of its leading columnists in a row over freedom of speech.

The Skye-based West Highland Free Press (WHFP), has fired its founding editor Brian Wilson along with the Free Church of Scotland Rev Professor of Theology Donald Macleod after the latter discussed the spread of Islam in the UK.

From my perspective it’s completely a freedom of expression issue and of course it saddens me that this is the outcome

Brian Wilson

Mr Wilson, who also writes a column for The Scotsman and was a minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, was sacked for defending ProfMacleod.

Free Church Moderator Rev David Robertson described the developments as “a sad day for Scottish journalism” and claimed the “once radical newspaper which genuinely allowed difference of opinion has become a sad caricature of itself”.

Prof Macleod said: “I am upset and vexed for Brian. He has paid the price for supporting me.”

Last night Mr Wilson told The Scotsman: “From my perspective it’s completely a freedom of expression issue and of course it saddens me that this is the outcome.”

The WHFP said: “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.”

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