Payout for ex-scout leader after niqab Darth Vader row

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image captionBrian Walker raised concerns over a female scout leader taking girls canoeing in a niqab

A scout leader who was expelled from the movement for comparing a colleague canoeing in a niqab to Darth Vader has accepted an out-of-court settlement.

Brian Walker, 62, wrote to the Scout's magazine saying a leader taking girls canoeing in a niqab would "most likely drown" wearing "that Darth Vader tent".

Mr Walker, who took legal action against the scouts, has been awarded an undisclosed settlement.

The Scout Association said the settlement does not imply he was right.

Mr Walker was immediately dismissed by the scout's district commissioner for Bristol South after writing to the association's official magazine in March 2017.

In his letter, which was unpublished, he wrote: "Canoeists don't dress like that.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 also criticised the association for "promoting political correctness and interfaith issues" with a visit to a mosque but then advising using a non-religious venue for the St George's Day service.

'Offensive comment'

Mr Walker, who had been in the scouting movement since the age of 10, also complained that no meaning was attached to Christmas and Easter in the scouting faith calendar but Islam was widely promoted.

In June 2017 he appealed the decision to expel him and after it was upheld he took legal action for discrimination on the grounds of his Christian beliefs.

The Christian Legal Centre, which supported his appeal, said an agreement has now been reached after a judge refused to "strike out" Mr Walker's claim as having no real prospects of success.

But a Scout Association spokesman said it does not accept Mr Walker was right "when he made his offensive comment".

"This settlement does not imply that we accept Mr Walker's claim made against us or his view of the world," he added.

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