Labour to vote against Tory ‘hate speech’ bill

Labour said that government plans to “safeguard” free speech in universities in the United Kingdom would allow Holocaust deniers, anti-vaccination groups and conspiracy theorists to take legal action against higher education organisations that denied them a platform to air their views, writes Toby Helm for The Guardian.

Announcing that its MPs would vote against the higher education (freedom of speech) bill, which was due to have its second reading in the Commons this week, Labour claimed that it was a hugely divisive and harmful “hate speech bill”. Universities UK and the National Union of Students have also expressed grave concerns about the bill, suggesting it is wildly disproportionate, and could leave institutions and student unions wide open to costly legal actions from people making vexatious or frivolous claims that they have been denied public platforms.

The government says the bill would “allow the Office for Students [OfS] to monitor and enforce freedom of speech measures at higher education institutions, [and] introduce a complaints system and redress for breaches of free speech duties through the introduction of a statutory tort, extend duties on free speech to students’ unions and create a role of director of freedom of speech and academic freedom at the OfS”.
Full report on The Guardian site