Oxford Union accused of giving away free speech in exchange for advanced vetting of controversial speakers

  • A debating group at Oxford Union has been accused by some of undermining freedom speech
  • The society finally agreed to allow controversial speakers to be vetted
  • Transgender critics and pro-Life groups are likely to be subject to deliberation

After allowing controversial speakers to be vetted, the Oxford Union was accused of undermining freedom of speech.

Before allowing guests to come to the debating society in 1823, they will evaluate their ‘impact.

Critics of transgender groups, pro-Life groups, and Israel supporters will likely be subject to particular deliberation.

Chris McGovern is the Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. He is a retired head teacher and a former advisor to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street

Chris McGovern serves as the chairman of Campaign for Real Education. Retired head teacher, he was also an advisor to 10 Downing Street’s Policy Unit. 

The Oxford Union was founded in 1823 and previous speakers include Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon and Professor Stephen Hawking

Established in 1823 by Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, and Stephen Hawking as the Oxford Union, it was first established in 2008.

However the society plans to 'restructure' its invitations process to take into account any adverse effect on minority groups. Pictured: Comedian Ricky Gervais at Oxford Union in June of 2017

The society will however’restructure” its invitation process in order to consider any negative effect it may have on minorities. Pictured in June 2017: Ricky Gervais (comedian) at Oxford Union

Even the most controversial speakers have been allowed to visit historically, such as OJ Simpson (1996) and Nick Griffin (2007 British National Party). 

But the society intends to “restructure” its invitations process in order to consider any adverse effects on minority groups.

According to documentation, this might mean that students should consult’specialist student associations’. This proposal was subject to independent legal review.

Chris McGovern from the Campaign for Real Education stated that speech freedom would be limited.

However, an Oxford Union spokesperson welcomed the review and added: “We will defend every person’s freedom to speech within the laws.”