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Universities: Freedom of Expression

Question for Department for Education

UIN 121648, tabled on 9 January 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy is on the no-platforming at universities of (a) Al-Muhajiroun, (b) the British National Party, (c) the English Defence League, (d) Hizb-ut-Tahir, (e) the Muslim Public Affairs Committee and (f) National Action; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

15 January 2018

Al-Muhajiroun and National Action are proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. Membership is illegal and these groups should not be given a platform at universities.

Universities have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure freedom of speech, including for visiting speakers (under the Education Act (No 2) 1986). The government therefore, does not support blanket no-platforming of individuals or organisations who are legally exercising their right to freedom of speech; it is for universities to balance their legal duties on a case-by-case basis.

The government’s position on this issue has been publicly stated on a number of occasions.

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