Nigel Luckhurst/Wikimedia Commons

Peter Hitchens decries 'thought police' after speech to students halted over LGBT fears

Sat 09 Feb 2019
By Alex Williams

Peter Hitchens has warned of "censorship and thought policing" after his scheduled appearance at a university next week was postponed over concern his views "are not necessarily aligned" with celebrating LGBT culture.

The Christian writer and broadcaster learned his speech at the University of Portsmouth was postponed because it coincided with a month-long celebration by students of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history.

Responding on Twitter, the 67-year-old said: "Portsmouth University Students' Union have 'postponed' a meeting I was due address next Tuesday, because my opinions are unacceptable.

 

"Poor old Pompey has suffered so much in defence of English freedom, and this is how it all ends."

Students union leaders said they had received "multiple" complaints on campus about the Mail on Sunday columnist's scheduled appearance, which formed part of a 'Big Talks' programme.

 

Union President Violet Karapaseva said: "We are committed to ensuring freedom of speech on the University of Portsmouth campus.

"However, we recognise that the timing of the scheduled event and the speaker's previously published views do not align with our current celebration of the LGBT+ community."

 

Karapaseva offer no explanation of what views had raised concerns.

The Union's decision comes days after new guidance aiming to protect free speech on campus was released by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

 

It says: "Student unions should be aware that creating a ban for certain groups or named individuals, could breach a higher education provider's Section 43 code of practice and undermine the right to freedom of expression."

Peter Hitchens appeared alongside his late brother Christopher during an edition of the Unbelievable? podcast with Justin Brierley.

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