16 Feb 2021

‘Hysteria’ over free speech is a ‘red herring’ says writer Nels Abbey

Europe Editor and Presenter

The government is to appoint a “free speech champion” for English universities, as part of its pledge to protect academic freedom and free speech.

Visiting speakers who get no-platformed will be able to sue universities for compensation, while student unions will also have to ensure their members have the right to free speech. All this, say critics, is fighting a “phantom threat”.

We were hoping to speak to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tonight about his moves to defend free speech on university campuses. But he has turned down our request, as he has done for 18 months.

We would like to invite Mr Williamson to come and discuss “unacceptable silencing and censoring” which he claims is happening in universities in an article in today’s Daily Telegraph.

We spoke to journalist Peter Hitchens, who claims he’s been “cancelled” from university events, and the writer Nels Abbey, whose novel Think Like a White Man highlights issues around racism in the UK.