Universities: Freedom of Speech

Department for Education written question – answered at on 10 September 2021.

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Photo of Jonathan Lord Jonathan Lord Conservative, Woking

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech on university campuses.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

This government believes that freedom of speech and academic freedom are fundamental pillars of our higher education system and that protecting these principles should be a priority for universities. That is why the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill was introduced on 12 May. The bill will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties and directly address gaps within the existing law. This includes the fact that there is no clear way of enforcing the current law when a higher education provider breaches it, as well as applying the duties directly to students' unions. The changes will introduce clear consequences for breaches of the new duties and ensure that these principles are upheld.

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