Mansfield MP welcomes second reading of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill
Mansfield’s MP is pleased the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill has its second reading, after being a champion of free speech and urging Government to strengthen academic freedom.
The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill delivers on a manifesto commitment and will safeguard the great traditions of our universities and ensure Britain remains a country where free speech can flourish.
Government will be introducing tougher legal measures, which include a new free speech condition places on higher education providers in order to be registered in England and access public funding; extending legal duties to student unions; and a new Free Speech and Academic Freedom Champion to investigate breaches of free speech and impose fines where appropriate.
Ben Bradley MP said: “It’s great to see this important Bill progress and it’s vital we protect free speech, particularly in universities.
"I’ve heard from constituents who have expressed their concerns about occasions where lecturers or students have been prevented from sharing their opinions, so I know this Bill will be welcomed in Mansfield.
“I find it worrying that freedom of speech is being stifled on campus and I’ve openly spoken about my frustrations surrounding ‘cancel culture’ many times.
"We can’t allow students and staff to feel as though they cannot express themselves when universities should be a place for debate and listening to different views.”
The strengthened legal duties would also extend to Students Unions, which for the first time would have to take steps to ensure that lawful free speech is secured for their members and others, including visiting speakers.