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King's College London: Freedom of Expression

Question for Department for Education

UIN 133254, tabled on 19 March 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government has made an assessment of the implications for its policy of restrictions imposed by King's College London on the freedom of speech of Israeli speakers on its campus following disruption by violent students.

Answered on

22 March 2018

The government is committed to free speech within the law – this does not include hate speech, incitement to violence or terrorism. Free speech is protected in universities by law (under the Education (no 2) Act 1986) and plays a crucial role in generating rigorous debate, advancing understanding and allowing students to challenge conventional wisdom and discuss controversial subjects.

We would expect universities to take appropriate action against violent incidents or against threats to speaker events, involving law enforcement if necessary. We would be very concerned if a university restricted an individual’s freedom of speech within the law due to concerns about reaction.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.