LBC presenter Maajid Nawaz says ‘I refuse to go quietly’ after station announces his departure

·4-min read
Maajid Nawaz will no longer present his LBC show ‘with immediate effect’, the station has said (LBC screengrab)
Maajid Nawaz will no longer present his LBC show ‘with immediate effect’, the station has said (LBC screengrab)

LBC presenter Maajid Nawaz has declared that he will “refuse to go quietly into the night”, after the broadcaster announced that he was leaving the radio station “with immediate effect”.

The 44-year-old’s contract had been due to expire “very shortly”, and following discussions with Mr Nawaz, he “will no longer present a show on LBC”, the broadcaster said in a statement on Friday.

While the station thanked Mr Nawaz “for the contribution he has made to LBC and [wished] him well”, the presenter struck a more defiant tone, writing on Twitter: “I refuse to go quietly into the night.”

In something of a rebuttal to LBC’s statement, Mr Nawaz said that he had been scheduled to appear on the station the following day, he “did not quit”, and his contract was set to expire in April 2022, adding: “Make of that what you will.”

Appealing to his followers to become a paid subscriber to his Substack newsletter, he added: “I have a wife and child to support and my show was our family’s only source of income.”

Mr Nawaz had in recent weeks been criticised by fellow LBC presenter Iain Dale, who accused him of spreading “deranged rubbish” regarding coronavirus vaccines.

Responding to a Twitter post on 13 December in which Mr Nawaz wrote that mass vaccination during a pandemic with a jab not tested for long-term side-effects “could be doing more harm than good”, Mr Dale said: “Enough. What we do know already is that it's dangerously irresponsible to tweet this kind of deranged rubbish.

“What it is designed to do is to sow seeds of doubt in people’s minds. What is more dangerous is not to have the jabs. Given you've had them, why do [you] tweet this garbage?”

Mr Nawaz later claimed his detractors were “unable to respond to any of the substance or points raised” except for calling him “dangerous”. He suggested that he was indeed dangerous “to fascism”, adding: “And We Are Coming”, followed by a Union Jack emoji.

And after Mr Nawaz claimed he would reject a booster dose “in solidarity with the unvaccinated”, Mr Dale tweeted: “In 11 years on LBC I have never publicly called out a fellow presenter. But I can't stand by while this sort of irresponsible and dangerous propaganda is spread by someone who ought to know better.”

The station declined to comment when asked by The Independent whether any discomfort among colleagues at Mr Nawaz’s recent output on social media had been a factor in his departure. The Press Gazette reported that the station’s management had faced internal and external pressure to take action over his tweets.

Mr Nawaz first joined LBC as a weekend presenter in 2016 – shortly after the release of his second book, co-authored with “New Atheist” philosopher Sam Harris, and four years after the publication of his memoir, Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism.

Having been imprisoned in Egypt in 2001 for four years over his involvement in the Islamist group Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, Mr Nawaz was freed after Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience.

Returning to the UK and renouncing his Islamist past, Mr Nawaz established himself as a prominent anti-extremist voice, setting up the recently-defunct Quillam Foundation think-tank. He unsuccessfully ran for parliament as a Liberal Democrat candidate in 2015.

In recent months, much of Mr Nawaz’s Twitter output has concerned vaccinations, vaccine mandates and other aspects of the coronavirus pandemic response. In a post last Wednesday, he wrote: “Please pay close attention to my timeline.

“I’m trying to show you in real time how you’re being targeted by state PsyOps [and] manipulative behavioural psychology. I see it from afar. I’m showing you with evidence in every post (more evidence than my detractors post, combined).”

Reacting to Italy’s move to make coronavirus vaccinations compulsory for the over-50s, Mr Nawaz tweeted on Thursday: “It’s time we all spelt it out plainly ... We are witnessing a global palace coup that suspends our rights – under the guise of an emergency that has been proven to be manipulated – by a network of fascists who seek a New World Order governed by technocratic corporatism.”

LBC declined to comment further on his departure when approached by The Independent, which has also sought to contact Mr Nawaz via his literary agent.