Motion A1 (as an amendment to Motion A)

Part of Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill - Commons Reason – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 21 March 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Triesman Lord Triesman Labour 4:30, 21 March 2023

Because we are not having that kind of iterative debate, I will refrain from making the point that I am not saying that I spoke only to academics who took the same view I might take. I am just saying that if you speak to academics, you will hear as many views as the number of academics you speak to; that is in the nature of the business.

I welcome the process we have gone through because it has alerted people to a very significant problem. A few days ago in your Lordships’ House, I heard somebody say that trigger warnings were now being attached to reading lists of some of the great classics from the English oeuvre. I was just about to embark on a re-reading of Northanger Abbey. If anybody has any advice for me about dangerous pages that I should avoid, I should be extremely grateful to hear it, because I would hate suddenly to find my entire spiritual underpinnings removed while reading Jane Austen.

This debate will leave a legacy. It will make everybody more attentive to the risks to free speech and academic freedom, and I am not at all sad that we have gone through the process if that is the outcome.