Downing Street has intervened in the bitter row over obscene tweets sent by Toby Young – the controversial appointee to the new universities regulator.
Number 10 sources said that Theresa May found his online postings “distasteful” and that any repeat would be “incompatible” with his position on the board of the Office of Students.
Young, a writer and free schools pioneer, has faced a growing barrage of criticism following his history of crude and misogynistic comments on social media – including multiple remarks about women’s breasts.
According to the The Mail on Sunday, they included a sick sexual “joke” about starving children on Comic Relief.
A Downing Street told the paper: “Toby Young has a great record in setting up free schools.
“However, the Prime Minister was not aware of these tweets when she appointed him and, like most people, sees them as distasteful.
“Now he has a public role, any repeat of those kinds of comments would be clearly incompatible with that position.”
Young told the Mail that he had been a “provocative journalist” for 30 years, whose stock in trade was saying “controversial, sometimes outrageous things”.
He added that it was unsurprising people were able to “dredge up” material to embarrass him, the Press Association reported.
However he said that all the offending messages dated back at least five years – and most much longer – and that he was now a changed man, saying: “I’m a more serious person now.”