Business of the House

Part of Prayers - [Mr Speaker in the Chair] – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 13th May 2021.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 9:33 am, 13th May 2021

My hon. Friend is right to raise his concerns about the charge of the woke brigade, though I seem to remember that the charge of the Light Brigade was ultimately not an enormously successful venture. I think the charge of the woke brigade will be similarly thwarted in the end.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech, will protect the fundamental principle of freedom of speech by strengthening existing freedoms of speech and addressing gaps in the current framework. There must be consequences for breaches of freedom of speech duties, and these legislative changes will ensure the significance and compliance that freedom of speech deserves.

This issue is of fundamental importance. If our places of education are not bastions of freedom of speech, what purpose do they serve? The whole point of a university is the clash of ideas, as we have a clash of ideas back and forth in this House. Freedom of speech in this House is protected by the Bill of Rights. We should protect, encourage and enhance freedom of speech across the land.