Results 41–60 of 2761 for speaker:Fiona Bruce

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (16 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I very much welcome this amendment and addition to the Bill. Perhaps colleagues will permit me a moment of reflection on a personal experience that makes me feel so strongly about this. In 2016, I was invited to speak at an Oxbridge college. I will not name it, because I think that the situation is somewhat embarrassing for it. I was asked, as chair of the all-party parliamentary pro-life...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (16 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I have listened to the debate, and I am troubled by amendments 75 and 76. I believe I heard the the right hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington say that the best form of consultation is ballot. I would normally construe that to mean a secret ballot. I am happy to be corrected if I misinterpreted his words. The whole aim of the Bill is to promote and secure freedom of speech—to open up...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (16 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I am listening to what my right hon. Friend said, and I heard what the Minister said, but is not the mischief that my right hon. Friend is seeking to address the fact that in universities, challenges to freedom of speech are so widespread—so entrenched, in many cases—that there needs to be real impetus to engender change? That is what this positive obligation would impose, so that we do...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: The objective of the Bill is to secure freedom of speech within the law. We are saying that, provided that someone speaks within the law—whether about their field of expertise or not—they should be covered by the Bill. They should have the freedom, as academics, to express views and not be penalised if those are unpopular, unfashionable or not mainstream. I hope the Minister will look at...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I will speak to my amendments 26 and 27 and, very briefly, to 60. I had hoped that the short but crucial amendment 27 might attract support from both sides of the Committee. Judging by some of the comments from Committee members today, not least the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, I continue to live in hope. I had hoped even the Minister might give a positive response to...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: My right hon. Friend may have his view, but I could not possibly comment. Without another look at the words “field of expertise”, academics could find themselves with fewer free speech rights than those in other vocations, since straying outside of their perceived field of expertise might lead to more complaints, increased disciplinary action and dismissal—outcomes clearly at odds with...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: Will the hon. Gentleman reflect for a moment on the position of doctoral students, which was mentioned by Professors Goodwin and Kaufmann? A student studying for a doctorate has considerable expertise in their field and, at the same time, might be tutoring some more junior students—undergraduates. Is it not a somewhat distorted situation and a strange irony that they could claim the...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I am listening very carefully to my hon. Friend, as I did to the right hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington. It was refreshing to hear him make common cause with me, and I appreciate it. If academic freedom is not to be extended to students, would freedom of speech under this Bill have covered the situation of the midwifery student who lost a year of her academic life? It is a very important...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I thank the Minister for her promise to keep under consideration the points that have been made today by Members on both sides of the Committee, and I look forward to her returning to this issue as the Bill progresses. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I beg to move amendment 59, in clause 1, page 2, line 9, after “staff” insert “and students”. This amendment seeks to protect the right of academic freedom for students in addition to academic staff.

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I rise to speak to amendment 59. Freedom of speech and academic freedom are the lifeblood of higher education. Without the protection of these freedoms, and recognition of their value to society, universities risk losing the ability to be centres of intellectual debate, where prevailing norms can be challenged and where academics and students are able to pursue unconventional lines of...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I hear what the hon. Gentleman says. I would like to think that the very concerning case of the midwifery student is a case in point.

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I thank the hon. Lady for that gracious intervention. It is a pity that I cannot speak to amendment 60 in the same moment, because I think that would help clarify my reasoning for this amendment. I am concerned that without the express inclusion of students, there is a risk that those most vulnerable to self-censorship and adverse consequences in academia, such as being marked down, will...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Clause 1 - Duties of registered higher education providers (15 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: I tabled amendment 29, as other Members have tabled other amendments, on a constructive basis, seeking to improve a Bill that I strongly support. Amendment 29 would clarify that “references to “members of the provider”— that is, the higher academic provider— “include any affiliated academics and any other person holding an academic position at the provider”. Why is this...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Examination of Witnesses (13 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: Thank you both for coming today. Danny, you have given us some carefully collated data on antisemitism which has been very helpful, not just in relation to the Bill but more widely. What are your thoughts about faith-based views being expressed and how there may have been an impact on those in the university arena, including in terms of the chilling effect? The kind of views that I am talking...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Examination of Witnesses (13 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: Q That is all right. Hillary, do you have any comments on students being freely able to express that kind of view within the university environment?

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Examination of Witnesses (13 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: Q Thank you. A further short question, if I may. We have asked witnesses about the impact that they think not having the Bill would have on the university environment in 10 years’ time. One witness said that there could be a monoculture or a lack of development of critical thinkers. I am really interested in what your impression is of the effect on wider society of not having the Bill, in...

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Examination of Witness (13 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: Q One students union has submitted to us: “This bill addresses a non-problem” —certainly at their student union and university. Do you agree?

Public Bill Committee: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill: Examination of Witness (13 Sep 2021)

Fiona Bruce: Q Thank you. Would you also reflect on another statement made in that submission? “Speakers” —presumably at events— “should be of the highest quality and have expertise in their field. Therefore, if speakers are known to have contradictory, erroneous or conspiratorial ideas on subjects for which they are speaking”, our student union “is obliged to discourage the spread of...


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