Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers

Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 13th June 2022.

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Votes in this debate

Amendment made: 1, page 2, line 11, leave out “and within their field of expertise”—(Michelle Donelan.)

This amendment removes the express limitation that academic freedom covers only matters within an academic’s field of expertise.

Amendment proposed: 17, page 2, line 14, at end insert—

“(c) to conduct research,

(d) to engage in intellectual inquiry and contribute to public debate,

(e) to criticise any institution,

(f) to be affiliated to any institution, and

(g) to be a member of a trade union body,”—(Matt Western.)

This amendment would widen the definition of academic freedom.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division number 12 Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill — Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers

Aye: 152 MPs

No: 280 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

The House divided: Ayes 152, Noes 284.

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendments made: 2, page 2, line 28, leave out

“and within their field of expertise”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment 1.

Amendment 3, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

‘(9A) In order to achieve the objective in subsection (2), the governing body of a registered higher education provider must secure that, apart from in exceptional circumstances, use of its premises by any individual or body is not on terms that require the individual or body to bear some or all of the costs of security relating to their use of the premises.’

This amendment would place a new duty on governing bodies of registered higher education providers to secure freedom of speech for certain persons by requiring such providers to secure that use of its premises is not conditional on requiring the person wishing to use them to bear the costs of security - unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Amendment 4, page 2, line 39, leave out “duty in section A1(1)” and insert

“duties in section A1(1) and (9A)”

This amendment is consequential on the changes made by Amendments 3 and 6.

Amendment 5, page 2, line 46, after “provider” insert

“and any students’ union for students at the provider”.

The duties on registered higher education providers and constituent colleges to secure freedom of speech extends to taking steps as regards the activities of its students’ unions (which will include JCRs and MCRs of colleges). Expanding the matters which must be included in the code of practice is to reinforce this.

Amendment 6, page 3, line 9, at end insert

“(which must include its criteria for determining whether there are exceptional circumstances for the purposes of section A1(9A)).”—(Michelle Donelan.)

This amendment requires the code of practice maintained by a registered higher education provider to set out the provider’s criteria for deciding whether there are “exceptional circumstances” which will enable it to require a person wishing to use its premises to bear the costs of security.