Media

How one woman took on the DWP and won

The Free Speech Union was able to help Anna. Specialist employment barrister Spencer Keen provided tremendously generous help (with yours truly doing the donkey work), and formidable grounds of claim were submitted to the Employment Tribunal alleging unfair dismissal, automatic unfair dismissal for whistleblowing, victimisation, belief and race discrimination, and harassment.

Bryn Harris, The Critic, 1st June 2023.

Free speech laws threaten to swamp debate

And the Free Speech Union (for which I’m an unpaid adviser) recently won a record settlement on behalf of a civil servant whistleblower who was fired for criticising politically extreme “diversity” and “gender ideology” training programmes.

Juliet Samuel, The Times, 31st May 2023.

Civil servant who blew the whistle on political activism wins £100,000 settlement

Ms Thomas began a claim against the Department in 2022, with the support of the Free Speech Union. She claimed she was the victim of unfair dismissal, belief discrimination, victimisation as a whistleblower, and harassment.
After three preliminary hearings, the DWP agreed to settle and pay Ms Thomas £100,000, of which £27,500 was for injury to her feelings. It did not admit any liability.

Louisa Clarence-Smith, The Telegraph, 27th May 2023.

Woke: the new religion?

For the past three years, in my capacity as general secretary of the Free Speech Union, I’ve been one of the leaders of the Anti-Woke Coalition. That’s my term for the loose collection of writers, journalists, broadcasters, artists, podcasters, YouTubers, Substackers, academics, intellectuals and politicians who are united in their opposition to the new authoritarian ideology that has swept through the English-speaking world over the past ten years. This movement has many names – postmodern neo-Marxism, the successor ideology, critical social justice theory – but the most common is woke, or some variation on it. 

Toby Young, Catholic Herald, 25th May 2023.

The free speech bill has finally become law – what happens next?

Bryn Harris, chief legal counsel for the Free Speech Union – one of the groups that was heavily involved in backing the legislation – confirmed that it was prepared to “assist in bringing a case if a member asks for our help; if the merits are good; and if assisting would further the promotion and defence of free speech”.
He said he felt that the first use of the tort was likely to involve someone taking out an injunction to prevent the cancellation of an event or by a student “who has been expelled from a professionally lucrative course such as medicine”.

Tom Williams, Times Higher Education, 22nd May 2023.

Trans activists now have a heckler’s veto on campus

After weeks of unnecessary stress and pressure, our event went ahead successfully – thanks to a huge amount of support from the public and from the Free Speech Union.

Raquel Rosario-Sanchez, Spiked, 17th May 2023.

Enough with these phoney free-speech warriors

This is all despite the fact that the ‘usual free-speech mob’ – including Spiked, the Free Speech Union and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer – responded almost immediately to condemn the arrests.

Fraser Myers, Spiked, 9th May 2023.

Cambridge don ready to lead war on woke as PM’s first free speech tsar

Toby Young, director of the Free Speech Union, said: “Arif is an excellent choice for the role. He has a proven track record as a fearless defender of free speech. I remember when he opposed a revision to Cambridge University’s free speech policy that would have forced academics to ‘respect’ each other’s opinions. That could easily have been misused to shut down discussion and debate. He was one of very few dons willing to stick his head above the parapet on that issue, but thanks to his moral courage the word ‘respect’ was replaced with ‘tolerate’, which was a huge improvement. He has a backbone of steel.”

Louisa Clarence-Smith, The Telegraph, 9th May 2023.