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Kilroy: I'm so sorry; TV host battles to save career.

Byline: By Anita Singh

PRESENTER Robert Kilroy Silk was fighting to save his TV career last night after branding Arabs suicide bombers, limb amputators and women repressors.

The former Labour MP issued an apology for the comments made in a Sunday newspaper column.

The article appeared under the headline ``We Owe Arabs Nothing''.

Amid a growing storm yesterday, embarrassed BBC bosses decided to take his daytime show off the air pending an investigation.

An insider said: ``It is no understatement to say his remarks were considered by many to be totally outrageous and could cost him his job.''

But last night, Kilroy-Silsk, said: ``I greatly regret the offence which has been caused by the article publishedin last weekend's Sunday Express.''

He added: ``The article contains a couple of obvious factual errors which I also regret.''

He claimed that the piece, which was first run in April by the Sunday Express, had been republished ``in error''.

This claim was at odds with a statement by the paper, which said the column had been delibrately repeated.

A spokesman said: ``The article was not a racist article and it was a rewrite of a previous article that appeared in April without complaint.''

In a statement yesterday, the 61-year-old presenter's TV bosses said: ``The BBC strongly disassociates itself from the views expressed in an article by Robert Kilroy-Silk in the Sunday Express of January 4, 2004.

``We stress that these comments do not reflect the views of the BBC.

``The BBC is taking the Kilroy programme off air immediately while we investigate.''

The Commission for Racial Equality have referred the matter to the police.

The Kilroy show has been running for 17 years and attracts ratings of 1.2 million viewers.

It will be partly replaced on Monday by the BBC Breakfast show runninghalfanhourlonger.

There has not yet been a decision on what will be screened during the second half of the hour-long Kilroy slot.

Kilroy-Silk will be hauled before Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, and Alison Sharman, head of daytime shows, in the next few days.

The investigation will focus on whether he has breached strict new rules banning BBC employees fromwriting columns.

Beeb chiefs took action after Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Moslem Council of Britain, complained to BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey about Kilroy-Silk's views.

Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Moslem Association of Britain, said: ``If Kilroy really believes that Arabshave contributed nothing to civilisation so far, the community's contribution to taking him off the TV will be a good start.''

Labour MP Lynne Jones yesterday tabled a Commons motions, condemning Kilroy Silk's ``racist comments''.

CRE chairman Trevor Phillips said the presenter's views were ``indisputably stupid''.

It is not the first time Kilroy Silk's views have provoked anger.

In 1995, he wrote a piece for the Daily Express which was also referred to the PCC.

In it, he said: ``Moslems everywherebehavewithequalsavagery. They behead criminals, stone to death female adulteresses and throw acid in the faces of women who refuse to wear the chadar.''


ATTACK: Kilroy; slammed Arabs in his column for a Sunday paper, inset
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 10, 2004
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