Even before she took up the job of EU chief scientific adviser in 2012, Professor Anne Glover made it clear she would be independent.

"For me to have any value or credibility," she said, "I need to focus on evidence and not on political considerations."

In her time in the post, she has demonstrated that independence most vehemently on the issue of genetically modified crops, expressing her support for them even though her boss, the commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, is opposed. At a conference in Aberdeen last year, Ms Glover said opposition to GM crops was a form of madness and insisted there was not a single piece of scientific evidence they were unsafe.

It would now appear that this independence of mind, surely the only legitimate approach to the job of scientific adviser, has cost Ms Glover her position, with the EU Commission confirming the position will not be extended. It is a great shame that a formidable microbiologist, and former adviser to the Scottish Government, will not be given more time to develop a valuable role, but it is even more concerning that the Commission is scrapping the role altogether.

It is concerning for two reasons. The first is that it appears to suggest that if a scientific adviser does not follow the diktats of their political masters, they can expect to lose their job. That is not the right approach. Politicians should appoint scientific advisers with the expectation they will get independent advice based on the evidence. Scientists are not infallible, but they should be free to offer the advice they believe is right. Getting rid of your adviser for taking a view you dislike suggests political ideology is more important than scientific evidence.

The second concern is that the end of the adviser role risks shutting down the debate about GM crops. The opposition of the UK public is clear (in surveys, only a small minority of consumers support them being grown), but this should be carefully balanced against the scientific evidence and the potential benefits of GM.

Some of the public concern about GM stems from evidence that seems to show risks to health (a 2012 paper, for example, found unusual rates of tumours in rats that had been fed a form of GM maize, although the paper was later withdrawn). But Ms Glover believes we are now at a stage where there is no serious scientific evidence that GM crops do serious harm.

That view should not be lightly dismissed, particularly when the potential benefits of GM crops are significant. If food crops can be made more resistant to drought, floods or disease, they could help meet the challenge of feeding millions of people in the world's poorer regions.

Ms Glover thinking aloud about such issues can only be a good thing, and it is to be regretted that she has been forced out for questioning a political orthodoxy. It may be that the agricultural interests in France did for her; it could be that, as some have suggested, the Commission has caved in to a green lobby. Whatever the reason, Ms Glover said she wanted to be independent and she should have been allowed that freedom.