Blog

Letter to CEO of ITV Urging Her Not to Sack Jeremy Clarkson

We’ve written to Dame Carolyn McCall, the CEO of ITV, urging her not to fire Jeremy Clarkson as host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Sacking Clarkson would be cancel culture at its most brutal, destroying a person’s livelihood because they’ve said something perfectly lawful, but which someone who thinks of themselves as a ‘victim’ finds offensive.

Clarkson has apologised for any offence he caused and that should be enough. As a society, we believe in the possibility of redemption for hardened criminals. Why can’t we extend the same charity to someone whose only crime is to have said something offensive?

Caroline-McCall-–-18.01.23

Letter to the Education Secretary About the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill

The Free Speech Union pulled together a letter from over 50 academics urging the Government not to water down the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, which is currently in the House of Lords. The reason for the letter is because there was strong opposition in the Lords during the Bill’s Committee Stage to clause 4 which would create a new statutory tort enabling students and academics to sue their universities if they breach the new free speech duties in the Bill. We are worried that the Government will now drop or amend clause 4 and without that enforcement mechanism the Bill will be toothless. You can read an article about the letter in the Telegraph here.

Letter-to-Gillian-Keegan-about-HEB.docx

The Free Speech Union Complains to Gonville and Caius’s College Council and Cambridge University’s Vice-Chancellor About the Master’s Email Denouncing Dr Helen Joyce.

The Free Speech Union has made two complaints about the email sent by the Master and Senior Tutor of Gonville and Caius, denouncing Dr Helen Joyce, who’d been invited to speak at the College by Dr Arif Ahmed, a Fellow of Cauis and a Professor of Philosophy. The first complaint is to the College Council, Caius’s governing body, pointing out that the email may have been a breach of the College’s Statement on Freedom of Speech; the second is to Dr Anthony Freeling, Cambridge’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, arguing that the email, which was sent by the Master using her University email address, may have been a breach of her duty under s43 of the Education Act 1986 to uphold free speech on campus, which applies to all officers of English universities. The talk went ahead, but was disrupted by noisy protestors, as Ewan Somerville reported in the Telegraph. You can read about our complaints here.

Letter to the National Education Union to express concern about a draft document which contains the NEU’s proposal to redefine the word ‘transphobia’ 

We’ve written to the National Education Union, Britain’s largest teaching union, after a whistleblower leaked a document to us containing the NEU’s proposed definition of ‘transphobia’ which it looks likely to adopt. The definition is so wide, it would mean any teacher that challenges the transrights activist agenda would be labelled a ‘transphobe’. You can read about this letter – and the NEU’s reaction to it – in the Telegraph.

Letter to YouTube About its Censorship of Russell Brand

We’ve written to YouTube about its removal of a video by Russell Brand, allegedly for breaching its Covid-19 medical misinformation policy. We’ve argued that since YouTube is clearly exercising public functions, it is subject to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and, as such, this is an unlawful interference with Mr Brand’s freedom of expression. In addition, we’ve argued that this censorship is a breach of his Article 1 property rights. We’ve asked YouTube to restore the video and withdraw the ‘lifetime’ warning it has issued to Mr Brand.

Letter to Leader of Lancaster City Council regarding the no-platforming of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown

We’ve written to the Leader of Lancaster City Council urging her to reconsider the cancellation of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown’s forthcoming performance in Morecambe. If some people find his humour offensive, they should just stay at home. No one is forcing them to buy a ticket.

Letter to the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police about The Lady of Heaven

We’ve written to four chief constables about their failure to uphold people’s right to see The Lady of Heaven. We’re publishing one of them here – to the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police. The others we’ve written to are the chief constables of South Yorkshire Police, West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police.

Letter to the Metropolitan Police concerning the arrest of Hatun Tash

Hatun Tash, the evangelical Christian preacher and member of the Free Speech Union, was arrested at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday, the third time she’s been arrested in two years. She was dragged off by a group of police officers, taken to Charing Cross police station, strip searched, interviewed, kept overnight in a cell and then released without charge. To cap it all, the day she was released – Monday, 27th June – was the 150th anniversary of Speakers’ Corner. We have written to the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Stephen House, asking him to justify this appalling treatment and, if he cannot, to apologise to Hatun.

Letter to Nadim Zahawi MP and Michelle Donelan MP thanking them for introducing two vital amendments we campaigned for to the Higher Education Bill

We’ve written to the Education Secretary and the Universities Minister to thank them for introducing two amendments that we campaigned for – removing the caveat “within their field of expertise” from Clause 1, so the new free speech protections apply to academics regardless of whether their speaking or writing about something within their field of expertise or not, and making it harder for “security costs” to be cited by universities or student unions to justify no-platforming a controversial speaker.

Below you can read our original letter and the reply we received from the Rt Hon. James Cleverly MP.